Gavin Struthers will be named the new worldwide channel chief for McAfee today replacing Alex Thurber, who has left the security vendor to become a senior vice presidential level executive at Tripwire Inc. of Portland, Ore.
Struthers was the the vice-president of channels and alliances for McAfee’s Asia-Pacific theatre. Struthers has held several roles at McAfee. He spent five years as McAfee’s regional director for Australia and New Zealand.
Struthers worked in various sales and general management roles across Australia, the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and South Africa and served on the management team at Novell in Australia, after moving to the country in 2000. Struthers does have hands-on solution provider experience as he worked for a leading VAR in a sales capacity in his native South Africa.
Struthers’ appointment does come as a mild surprise to some in the channel. The leading candidate was thought to be Fernando Quintero, current Americas channel chief for McAfee. The Venezuelan-born Quintero has more than 20-years of channel experience with companies such as HP, Compaq and McAfee.
As for Thurber, he makes his home near Portland, Ore., and Tripwire will allow him to be closer to his family. Thurber told CDN in many interviews that his travel schedule as worldwide channel chief was grueling.
When Thurber was named McAfee channel chief it ended a revolving door at the position that saw executives such as David Dickison, Lisa Loe, Roger King and David Roberts hold the position. Thurber also made the channel business an important part of the security company’s operation.
Thurber completely overhauled the channel organization and gave the channel team purpose and direction. Thurber learned the importance of the channel while at Cisco Systems and instilled the Cisco partner profitability philosophy inside McAfee, but to his credit didn’t replicate Cisco’s channel program. Instead he worked on building a solid foundation of solution providers. Currently, McAfee has 451 Elite partners in its top tier and 22,931 associate partners at its bottom level.
At last year’s Focus conference Thurber had channel partners gasping when he announced 25 per cent margins for its deal registration program. Most deal registration programs offer between 10 to 15 per cent margins on registered deals.
“Partner profitability is McAfee’s first principal. Does our technology drive your profitability? McAfee has made the largest investment in its channel in the company’s history,” he said in an interview during the conference.
As for Tripwire, it’s owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo of Chicago and San Francisco. The company develops security and compliance automation software. Its revenues in 2010 were under $90 million. In 2010, it was named Oregon’s most admired company.
Tripwire does have some Canadian representation with channel partners such as NCI of Mississsauga, Ont., WhiteHat Inc. of Burlington, Ont., Source44 Consulting Inc. of Markham, Ont. and Insight Canada of Montreal.
CDN will have complete coverage of the formal announcement of the new McAfee channel chief as it happens.