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Channel chief aims to give Riverbed partners 'a clear path to profitability'

Riverbed's new global channel chief, Karl Meulema, plans to improve partner satisfaction, build out a managed services model, and expand partners' ability and incentive to sell Riverbed products.

Cisco Systems Inc. veteran and short-term Avaya Inc. senior executive Karl Meulema this week joined Riverbed Technology as senior vice president of global channels. As global channel chief, Meulema replaces Randy Schirman, who held the same title at Riverbed for four years. Schirman left Riverbed in July.

In his new job, Meulema is responsible for all channel-related activities globally. Riverbed has 3,000 partners worldwide, who are part of the Riverbed Performance Partner Network.

What the new channel chief brings to Riverbed is experience architecting and executing channel and partner go-to-market strategies and programs, skills he honed working for Avaya, Cisco and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Meulema said that his top three goals at Riverbed are to continue to improve the company's partner experience and improve partner satisfaction, build out a managed services delivery model, and expand Riverbed partners' ability and incentive to sell the value of the company's platform.

What does the new channel chief want Riverbed partners to know about him?

"My focus will be on building out a balanced go-to-market model that will provide our partners predictability, consistency and a clear path to profitability across Riverbed technology and services," he said.

In his prior position as vice president of global services and partners at Avaya, Meulema was responsible for the services field organization outside the U.S. and global channel partner strategy and programs. He left Avaya in April 2013 after nine months, noting, "It wasn't a good fit."

According to Avaya, there was some reorganization of executive positions at the company after Meulema left and his position was absorbed into two different groups, Avaya Global Services and the Avaya worldwide channel organization, which covers services strategy.

Avaya is no stranger to seat shifting at the executive level. Meulema's departure from Avaya followed on the heels of the departure of John Spilotis, who served as Avaya's global channel chief. Spilotis took a job as vice president of Americas sales at Palo Alto Networks in April 2013.

More recently, in March 2014, Karl Soderlund, who served as vice president of Americas channel chief for two-plus years at Avaya and for seven months prior to that as vice president of U.S. channel sales at the company, took a new position as vice president worldwide channels at Aruba Networks.

Just three months later, in June, Avaya scooped up Joe Lohmeier, formerly vice president of Americas sales at VMware, to serve as vice president for U.S. channel sales. He was with VMware for less than three years.

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