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Master Agency CMS Taps Saxby as President

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Communication Management Services (CMS) announced Wednesday that it has tapped Mike Saxby as its new president charged with strategic growth as well as operational and financial management for the master agency.

CMS' Mike SaxbyChannel veteran Gene Foster will remain CEO, focusing on strategic opportunities, such as wireless, but he will relinquish much of the day-to-day oversight of the company and its 13 employees to Saxby, who comes to the company after two years as chief strategy officer with Telecom Brokerage Inc. (TBI) and five years as publisher of Channel Partners.

“I am very excited to offload many of the responsibilities that I’ve held since the inception of CMS,” Foster told Channel Partners. “I’ve never been able to say that … ever. I’ve never had the faith that someone else could (or would) put the same amount of passion and energy into CMS that I have over the years.”

Foster founded CMS in 1991. Since then, it has grown to be one of the nations largest master agencies, offering  voice, data, Internet, wireless and mobility solutions, cloud, managed services, customer premise equipment and conferencing solutions from more than 45 suppliers through its network of more than 500 subagents. It also is a member of the Agent Alliance, a buying consortium of telecom agencies.

Foster said he wasn’t actively recruiting a president, but that he had been considering such a move for a few years and has been vigilant about looking for someone that would be the right fit.

Saxby has 15 years of experience at VIRGO Publishing, most recently as publisher of Channel Partners and a number of other publications. His responsibilities included competitive analysis, financial analysis and budgeting, operations, mergers and acquisition, management, product development and implementation. He also spent two years at TBI where he was responsible for business development, strategy, process improvements and marketing initiatives as well as vendor management. While his practical agency experience is limited, Foster said Saxby has shown that he has the vision and enthusiasm needed for the next phase of the channel business.

“In my opinion, his knowledge of the industry and the direction it is moving is miles ahead of many who may have more direct and long term day-to-day experience,” Foster said. “In addition, he has a very strong commitment to excellence, he has a desire and a plan to bring a significant value add to the channel through CMS, and just as importantly, we share a strong synergy in our personal and professional goals for the future.”

Saxby also gets nods from CMS supporters, including Blake Wetzel, vice president of the CenturyLink Channel Alliance.

Mike will be a tremendous asset to CMS and we look forward to deepening our relationship with CMS and the Agent Alliance under his direction. Mike previously served on our advisory council and is indeed a leading strategist in our industry,” said Wetzel in a press statement.

Bill Power, CEO of the Agent Alliance, also praised Saxby’s hire.

“Ive known Mike for years and have the utmost respect for his knowledge and creative approach to the telecom channel,” Power said. ”Im also looking forward to Mikes immediate involvement in the Agent Alliance.”

Saxby, who will relocate from Phoenix to CMS headquarters in San Diego in second quarter, told Channel Partners he is excited about the opportunity the channel has to take market share, but he believes that it will require a company with vision to attract a converged partner. CMS, he said, already has a growing wireless practice that is focused on mobility management solutions that are attractive to both agents and VARs.

“That forward thinking culture combined with my passion for the future of the channel will create a powerful marriage,”  Saxby said.

Both while at TBI and on recent consulting engagements, Saxby has been focused on engaging and enabling IT channels to sell telecom and other recurring revenue services like mobility, cloud and managed services.


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