Kaspersky announces new VP of North American channel sales

Kaspersky Lab Americas has hired Kristen Capone to help lead the company’s North American channel sales efforts.

Capone worked for several years at Macromedia when it was “the early days of the Internet (and) no one really knew what Flash was,” she said. At this time, she worked under Stephen Elop, who’s now the president of Microsoft’s Business Division. There, she was responsible for the U.S. and Canadian tier 1 and tier 2 channel teams. A few years later, Capone said she left the industry to stay home with her daughter and did some consulting work for a digital signage company. Now, she’s landed at Kaspersky and is back in the channel game.

Capone was hired by Nancy Reynolds, the senior vice-president of corporate sales for Kaspersky Lab Americas. Her hire was part of Reynolds’ continued commitment to the company’s channel growth and to ensure partner and company success.

In only day four of the job, CDN caught up with Capone and Reynolds to discuss the new position, what it means for partners and future goals for the channel. Below is an edited transcript.

CDN: Tell me about your career background before Kaspersky and why you joined the company?

Kristen Capone: I worked for Macromedia in the early days of the Internet, when no one really knew what flash was. We sold direct and we started building out a Tier 2 distribution channel model. We grew the partner program and we grew the team. I worked under Stephen (Elop) and he was a tremendous leader and a great mentor for me. The key thing I took away from Stephen was that he was responsible for the whole organization as the chief operating officer, before later (being promoted to) CEO. He was around the clock with the partners and that was key. That was something he set forth as a mantra for all of us and is something I’m bringing with me to Kaspersky.

I was at Barlo Vision four years ago when I left the industry to stay home with my daughter. I did some consulting work for the dynamic digital signage industry and I was asked to look at an opportunity to build the channel in the U.S. This helped me round out my channel background.

On why I joined Kaspersky, why not? After I started doing more research on the company, it became pretty apparent that they’ve come out of nowhere and have put themselves on the map in the security space. They’re growing and given my channel background, the all-channel model was very appealing to me.

CDN: How closely will you be working with your Canadian partners?

Nancy Reynolds: Very closely. We’ll also be working with Kevin (Krempulec), he’s the Canadian country manager and we’ll take guidance and recommendation from him. Kristen’s new position is an example of us holding true to our philosophy, where we want to have consistencies across all regions and segments for Canada and the U.S.

CDN: What sort of leader will you be to your North American channel partners?

K.C.: It’s only day four on the job, but 2010 will be a big year for us and we have some big goals. We’ll focus on optimization and enhancements and will listen to our partners to see what they need to be successful. We’ll also look at programs, the team and products, to work with our partners so we can continue to build out bigger and faster.

CDN: Will you be hiring someone to keep a pulse on the ground for you here in Canada?

N.R.: Kevin (Krempulec) is for the most part, our Canadian spokesperson. As part of the restructure, we also promoted one of our internal folks, David Hillier. He was an SMB account executive at Kaspersky Lab in Toronto, but now he’s the regional channel manager. Moving forward, we’ll continue to make investments as the channel explodes.

CDN: What would you like to see changed in the Green Team Partner Program?

K.C.: It’s more about optimization and enhancements. We’re bringing some good solid infrastructure by way of tools to help partners be more successful and to help with their profitability. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this space.

CDN: Regarding Kaspersky’s push into the enterprise space, what’s your partner recruitment strategy in North America?

N.R.: We’re already in the enterprise space, so we’ll continue to look at new channels or partners with vertical market specialization and optimize it from there and give them tools. We’re looking at the partners we have and we’re seeing where we have gaps. This is something we’re still evaluating. Our strategy is quality and not quantity. In North America, we have over 3,000 partners.

CDN: What are your priorities for the North American channel right now?

K.C.: With the Green Team Partner Program, it’s about building out the right partner ecosystem and adding to our partner base. We want to enable partners to be profitable selling Kaspersky.

CDN: Do you have a message for your partners?

K.C.: If there’s anything we can do to help, we’re committed, we’re here and we care for you.

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