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XO Channel Chief Law Resigns

XO Communications Inc. confirmed Thursday that its channel chief, Brian Law, has resigned his post to pursue an entrepreneurial endeavor. Law will remain with the company at least through May as the company searches for a replacement. Meanwhile, the channel organization will roll up to Mike Toplisek, chief marketing officer for XO Business Services.

The news comes three weeks after the companys longtime CEO Carl J. Grivner announced he was stepping down after eight years.

Law served as the CLECs channel leader for just more than a year; he was named national vice president of indirect services in February 2010. He filled a post vacated by the resignation of Jim Delis, who ran the channel since 2005 as its vice president of business operations.

Law and his team reported to Dan Wagner, president of XO Business Services, but the channel staff will now report to Toplisek in the interim and may continue to report to him once Laws replacement has been found.

Law has been at XO for more than a decade. Prior to running the channel, he spent two as regional vice president of sales for the central region, where he oversaw business and enterprise sales for the company in 10 major metropolitan markets across seven states. Previously, he served for four years as general manager for the XO sales offices in Memphis, Nashville and St. Louis. Prior to that, he spent three years as sales manager of the XO Nashville sales office. Prior to joining XO in 1999, Law held sales positions at Teligent and Primus Automotive Financial Services.

Law told Channel Partners that he has been fighting the entrepreneurial bug for several years” and that his recent association with the business owners and entrepreneurs in the channel fueled that interest. Initially, he said he will take a big freakin deep breath” and that he will be consulting with a few firms in his home town of Nashville regarding sales and distribution strategies. He said those engagements will run through the end of the year and afford him the time to evaluate what he wants to do longer term. He said it would most likely be a telecom-related venture and he did not rule out becoming a telecom agent himself.

Toplisek acknowledged that it stinks” to lose Law, but that he left the channel better than he found it.” Toplisek said he does not plan on making any draconian” changes. We sold more through the channel last year than ever. Most of our top partners made more money with XO than they had historically. Things are going in the right direction,” Toplisek said.

The channel continues to be a very important part of how we grow this company,” Toplisek added. We have more opex dollars aimed at the channel than any like-size competitor and also more than a lot of our large competitors. While Brian has been charting the course and setting the strategy the day-to-day folks are largely unchanged.”

XOs channel leaders include Sherri Turpin, national executive director of sales; Cheryl Vick, director of operations; Alethea Peyrin, national marketing manager; and Tom Gorey, national director.

There is a lot of strength in the existing team and Mike will be able to lean heavily on me through me and the rest of that group sales-wise and operationally,” Law said.

Specifically, Toplisek said he would continue one of Laws pet projects a pilot called the Platinum Partner Program begun in March 2010  to provide upgraded support to 11 of the CLECs top indirect sales partners.

The dedication that we have got in that, the investments that Maria Funkhouser has as the vice president of customer experience, the investment that Mike Langan [vice president of customer operations] has handling everything from OE to service delivery they are very invested in this channel,” said Law. They were a big part of the design of P3 to begin with.”

Law said he is leaving the program at the right time. When I looked around the advisory council table, its kind of when I had my a-ha moment that, Man, this is in good shape. Weve got a great council. Weve got a great leadership team and structure. And, we have people that own big parts of the business that really get channel. I think it will continue to grow.”

Toplisek said the company will begin looking for a new channel chief, but did not want to rush it, preferring to find someone that offers a cultural fit with XO.


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