**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in July.**
Early last month, DeLozier vacated his position at CenturyLink and began serving as 8×8‘s new global channel chief. Those who were reporting to DeLozier have been reporting to Lisa Miller, CenturyLink’s president of wholesale, indirect channels and alliances, pending a decision on a new channel leader.
In a Channel Partners exclusive, Miller tells us Gee now will be the leader of CenturyLink’s partner program, responsible for both indirect and strategic partners. Before CenturyLink completed its $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 last November, Gee was that company’s channel chief.
“He has extensive knowledge of the channel and the right experience to really ensure that our program remains one of the top programs in the industry,” Miller said.
In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Miller and Gee give an update on CenturyLink’s partner program and channel-management structure.
Channel Partners: Garrett, how is this expanded role different from what you’ve been doing?
Garrett Gee: Certainly I’m humbled and excited to take on this additional responsibility. Certainly I was in the same capacity at the former Level 3, but the new combined company is a much larger scale and it brings the ability for us to do some things that I wasn’t able to do previously. One of the examples would be really our strategy around having tactical teams and strategic teams so we can have the strategy teams really lay down the groundwork for our tactical teams to focus on. And that’s just one example of some of the things that we’ll be focusing on for the remainder of the year.
CP: Why was the decision made to expand Gee’s role as opposed to hiring a replacement for John DeLozier?
Lisa Miller: As you look at the industry, there [are] always some tweaks and changes, but we feel very confident with Garrett in the leadership role to be the single channel chief leading our program. And we have four very capable vice presidents that report in to Garrett, so we feel that our bench is very strong as well, so that’s super exciting. We feel very confident to have one leader leading the program for indirect and strategic partners. And that’s an important alignment in the team.
GG: At that next leadership level, we have a really strong balance of former CenturyLink and Level 3 leaders. We have 13 sales directors in the field and then that is replicated when you look at our engineering and our support organizations as well. We’re feeling really good about where our leadership team stands at this point.
CP: What sort of partner feedback have you been receiving and has that played a role in decisions regarding channel-management structure?
LM: Our partner community has a big influence on our program, and I personally talked to a good selection of our top partners as I was going through this process, as well as having discussions with all of our team leaders within the organization to take their feedback as well because we want to build the strongest program we can, and it’s important to make certain we’re listening to all of our partners as well as all of our internal stakeholders.
CP: Garrett, what’s on your to-do list to tackle first?
GG: We spent about a year in integration and it’s been about three quarters almost since close (of the Level 3 acquisition) and that allowed us to …