Craig Schlagbaum, former channel chief for Level 3 Communications Inc., joined Comcast Corp. Tuesday as its vice president of sales – indirect channels for Comcast Business Services, a new role for the cable giant that signals a growing commitment to the channel.
In his new role, Schlagbaum is charged with building the cableco’s indirect sales program for Comcast Business Services. “I will have the responsibility for running the sales and program elements of a brand new indirect channel program focused on selling Comcast Internet and voice services through channel partners primarily to small- and medium-sized business customers," Schlagbaum said.
Comcast Business Services is experiencing strong growth. In its most recent earnings report for third quarter 2010, the company said the division’s revenue increased 54.5 percent to 333 million. (Excluding the contribution from Cimco Communications and New Global Telecom, acquisitions completed in the first quarter, revenue increased 44 percent.) Comcast CFO Michael J. Angelakis said the company expects “the momentum in the small end of the business market to continue and we remain very enthusiastic about our opportunity to serve mid-sized businesses."
As part of its efforts to reach the business market, Comcast intends to roll out a channel program “over the coming quarters," Schlagbaum told Channel Partners, noting that he hoped to have more specific details to report in time for the Spring 2011 Channel Partners Conference & Expo, March 13-15, in Las Vegas. “We are going to do this right and make sure it’s a program partners can rally around," he added.
Comcast Business Services tested the channel waters with an exhibit at the Fall 2010 Channel Partners Conference & Expo. “They evaluated what the community was about, met with partners and determined there was an opportunity here," Schlagbaum explained. However, the company does not have any agents presently, he said.
“This will be a great challenge for me to once again build a new channel program from the ground up with one of the leaders in the space," Schlagbaum noted. “It will allow me to work again with many of the great partners who I have built very close relationships with over my last 11 years in this business."
Schlagbaum resigned his post as Level 3’s vice president of indirect channels, Sept. 15. Schlagbaum was named Level 3’s channel chief in August 2007, after serving for three years as vice president of national partner sales. Prior to Level 3, he was vice president of channel sales for NTT/Verio and a senior director of channel sales for Qwest Communications International Inc.
Schlagbaum said after leaving Level 3, he took some time off and went to Africa. In late fourth quarter, he began looking at a number of opportunities. “This was the best fit for me overall and with my skill set," he said.
At Comcast Business Services, Schlagbaum will report to Terry Connell, vice president of sales and sales operations. He said his team will include channel-familiar staff from the acquisitions of NGT and Cimco. The respective agent programs for those companies are intact and their contracts are in force, he said. Schlagbaum declined to comment on whether the programs would be integrated with the channel he is building.
Schlagbaum will be based at the former NGT headquarters in Golden, Colo. Comcast Business Services is based in Philadelphia.