Cisco Canada president leaves for Rogers; replaced by GM of Russian subsidiary

Nitin Kawale, the long-time president of Cisco Canada has left the subsidiary to become the president of Rogers’ Enterprise Business Unit.

This position takes effect on Dec. 1st and it follows the recent announcement of Rogers 3.0. Rogers 3.0 is the service providers new multi-year strategy for reorganizing around customers, creating separate consumer and enterprise business units that will include customer care call centres, field operations, go-to-market and online channels.

Bernadette Wightman
Bernadette Wightman

Taking over for Kawale is Bernadette Wightman, the former GM of Cisco Russia. Wightman becomes the first woman president of Cisco Canada. Wightman official start date is Nov. 24th. Kawale will stay on at Cisco Canada until Nov. 21.

Joe Ussia, president of Mississauga, Ont.-based Cisco channel partner Infinite IT Solutions, called Kawale a consummate professional that lead Cisco to greatness in Canada.  “He will be sorely missed.  The Rogers 3.0 strategy requires someone with the vision that Nitin will lend,” he said.

Wightman has lead sales organizations mostly in developing markets for Cisco such as Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

Wightman does have significant channel experience having run the channel and commercial sales teams for Cisco’s Emerging Theatre. According to the company, the Emerging Theatre is the largest Cisco commercial theatre outside of the Americas. It covers 84 countries and more than 10,000 channel partners.

Prior to Cisco, Wightman worked at British Telecom.

Wightman is a relative unknown in the Canadian market. Ussia said that she has 15 solid years as a leader within Cisco as a channel focused sales leader. “She will bring new strategies to the Canadian market.  We at Infinite IT look forward to working with Bernadette Wightman and the prospect of Wightman taking what Nitin built to the next level,” he said.

Kawale leaves Cisco Canada during an interesting time in its history. The Pam American Games are scheduled for Toronto in 2015 and Cisco Canada was the top technology sponsor. Cisco Canada has been asked to build one of four Internet of Everything Innovation Centres in its home base of Toronto.

Kawale ran the Canadian operating for six years. In that time, he was instrumental in closing the historic $4 billion Cisco/Province of Ontario deal that would see Cisco’s employee base in the province soar to more than 5,000 people by 2024. The agreement plans to add up to 1,700 high tech jobs with a focus on R&D within the first six years.

Some of his best work may have come during the global economic crisis where Kawale shifted the Canadian operation back to its core businesses establishing priority areas in routing, switching and services; collaboration; data centre; video; and architecture.

During his tenure as Cisco Canada president, Kawale was named three times to CDN’s Top 25 Newsmakers list.

Under the Rogers 3.0 plan Kawale will be responsible for turning Rogers Enterprise unit into a strong Canadian growth company, invest in and develop people resources, deliver compelling content anywhere, and focus on innovation and network leadership.

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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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