Cisco Canada makes major presidential switch

A double whammy at Cisco Canada! First, Bernadette Wightman, the Canadian president, is departing Cisco Canada. According to sources, her contract was completed and she is now looking for another opportunity.

CDN has also learned that high profile Dell executive Rola Dagher is the new president of Cisco Canada. Her start date has yet to be announced, but it could coincide with the start of the Cisco Canada’s fiscal year.

Dagher, has more than 25-years of experience in both the vendor and channel community. She was the Vice President & GM, Dell EMC Infrastructure Solutions Group. This was a unique role for Dagher as she had U.S.-market responsibilities but also dot lined into Dell EMC Canada president Kevin Peesker.

Wightman plans to work with Dagher in a transitional phase and then plans to return to her home in the U.K.

Dagher’s departure is a big blow to Dell EMC and a major win for Cisco Canada. Dagher has been at Dell since 2012 and has been promoted three times during that stint. She recently got promoted to her current role from leading the Enterprise Solutions area for Dell Canada.

The well respected and highly likable Dagher has some solid channel experience with CompuCom Canada for a year and with Bell Canada for 15 years.

Scott Harper, vice-president of strategy & alliances at Softchoice, has known and worked with Dagher for several years and applauded the hire.

“We were excited to hear the news this morning for Rola, for Cisco Canada, and for the channel. Rola has proven to be instrumental in personally building partner relationships during her time at Dell-EMC, and we couldn’t be happier to have someone so intimate with the channel and Canadian market to be in this position,” Harper said.

Wightman took over for Nitin Kawale, the long-time president of Cisco Canada in October of 2014. At the time Kawale left Cisco to become the president of Rogers’ Enterprise Business Unit. He has since stepped down from that job.

Bernadette Wightman
Bernadette Wightman

Wightman became the first woman president at Cisco Canada when she arrived in Canada after managing Cisco Russia.

Wightman’s timing could not have been better scripted. She arrived as the company planned to host all of its global partners in Montreal at the Cisco Partner Summit – only the second time in its history that’s it’s been held outside of the U.S. On top of that, Cisco’s technology partnership with the PamAm Games in Toronto made Wightman a household name in the industry practically overnight.

She also helped her own cause but smartly making herself available to channel partners, customers and employees almost at a moment’s notice. 

In 2015, Wightman set a new agenda for Cisco Canada by rolling out the new $100 million Cisco Internet of Everything Innovation Centre. She redefined all roles at Cisco Canada to be sales roles and made software a priority for the subsidiary by shifting more internal resources towards it and emphasizing new partner programs aligned to enhance the software practice and hybrid IT. 

As for Dagher, she led the server, storage, and networking business at Dell and that area was one of the more successful units in Dell’s overall channel business.

Dagher also excelled at collaborating with internal sales teams in commercial and with converged infrastructure helping channel partners get to market faster and with complete solutions for customers.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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