Jon Brinton takes over as Avaya continues product and service shift to the cloud
Avaya has named the former cloud chief at rival Mitel to run its North America channel sales unit, the latest step by the company as it shifts its product and service offering to the cloud.
The Lowdown: Jon Brinton spent more than 11 years at Mitel, driving the growth of the company’s cloud business, most recently as senior vice president of the company’s contact center solutions and global cloud operations. He fills the space vacated by Gary Levy, who left Avaya in March to take over as Oracle’s vice president of worldwide enterprise alliances and channel.
The Details: At Avaya, Brinton will be responsible for developing the company’s channel sales strategy, growing the channel business and profits, and building enablement programs for the vendor’s array of partners, distributors, and resellers through recruitment, education, and empowerment efforts. Avaya has more than 4,700 channel partners.
The Impact: Brinton’s move comes during a time of change for both companies. Officials with Avaya, which came out of bankruptcy two years ago, have been trying for much of the year to determine the best way forward for the company, looking at a range of options, which has included being bought by another company or a private equity firm. That picture came into better view in October when Avaya partnered with RingCentral, which became Avaya’s exclusive provider of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) solutions, bought $125 million in Avaya stock, and will pay the company another $375 million for licensing rights and commissions related to the UCaaS solution.
Background: Amid stories about different roads Avaya could take, reports emerged in August that Mitel was interested in a merger. Mitel, which has a history of building by acquiring such companies as ShoreTel – bought in 2017, a year after Mitel failed in its bid to buy Polycom – was purchased by private equity firm Searchlight Capital Partners for $2 billion last year and in October brought in ex-Polycom CEO Mary McDowell as chief executive, replacing Rich McBee, who is now Riverbed’s CEO.
The Buzz: “Avaya continues to attract remarkably high-caliber talent, with a mandate to transform the company as the partner-of-choice for communications solutions spanning SMBs to enterprises with an emphasis on cloud and new subscription models,” said Frank Ciccone, senior vice president for North America sales at Avaya. “Our network of channel partners, distributors, and resellers is unmatched and vitally important to our growth, and we are excited to have Jon lead our channel team. His track record and leadership experience will be a tremendous asset for Avaya and our partners.”
“I’m pleased to be joining Avaya at such an important time, as the company works to reshape a customer-driven approach to delivering innovation in its communications and collaboration solutions,” Brinton said. “I’m also excited about the opportunity to build the partner infrastructure to help drive the success of the new Avaya Cloud Office UCaaS offer resulting from the recent partnership with RingCentral. Avaya has tremendous market presence and brand strength, and I look forward to enabling growth and strengthening the company’s sales channel, and creating a consistent approach to programmatically identify, target, and recruit partners that align with the company’s goals to bolster our channel and better meet the needs of our customers.”