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January’s Top 12 Headlines: Vonage Chief, Bankruptcies, Avaya Hire

Kicking 2020 to the curb, some of the channel’s biggest names didn’t let any dust gather on 2021. The likes of Vonage, Avaya and Telarus unleashed big news in January — landing in our latest top 12 countdown.

For instance, the aforementioned companies all introduced new personnel — a channel chief, cloud sales leader and CRO, respectively.

But the news of the month went well beyond personnel announcements. Sangoma announced the acquisition of Star2Star, giving us the most significant M&A from January.

There were also a pair of “reruns,” with articles about Windstream and Frontier bankruptcies again rearing their heads on our top 12 countdown.

Those were just a few of the stories getting your attention last month.

So which was No. 1? Click through our gallery below to find out. If you were busy during the holiday season, maybe you missed our December top 12 countdown? Check that out here.

Follow executive editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

Datapipe's Robb Allen

#12 — Sangoma Buying Star2Star

It only published on the last Friday of the month, but that didn't stop this hot M&A from making our list. Your interest in just three days propelled it into our top 12.

Sangoma's $437 million acquisition of Star2Star might have the likes of 8x8, RingCentral and Vonage shaking in their boots. They have a new rival.

Sangoma believes the move will reposition it as a leading global cloud communications provider.

Get the full scoop on the deal.
8x8's Meghan Keough

#11 — The Very Best Partners

We took a look back at some of the biggest industry honors from the past six months. Some of the biggest vendors, master agents and distributors recognized their top-performing channel and vendor partners.

Here's where to go to see who in the channel is at the top of their game.
RingCentral's Heather Hinton

#10 — Windstream Exits Bankruptcy

This one keeps on hangin' on.

Windstream is such a big name in the channel, it doesn't matter that this story posted in September. It still landed in our top 12 at No. 10. We alerted you to the fact that the business communications giant was exiting chapter 11 bankruptcy with two-thirds less debt.

Now privately held, the Nasdaq delisted Its stock after Windstream filed chapter 11 in February 2019.

“Today marks the start of a new era for Windstream as an even stronger, more competitive company,” said president and CEO Tony Thomas on Sept. 21, 2020.
RingCentral's Heather Hinton

#9 — Avaya Hires Cloud Sales Leader

New hires are always popular, but you've got a close eye on Avaya's continuing cloud journey.

To that end, you wanted to learn about Darcey Harrison, the company's new VP of North America cloud sales. Harrison previously was Ujet's chief revenue officer.

Harrison and her team will be responsible for meeting Avaya’s cloud sales goals and making sure resellers are successful.

Learn more about her plans.

Hyberpion's Tracy Hickox

#8 — Master Agent Mania

Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2020's fourth quarter was a busy one for the industry's master agents. We broke down all of the activity, some of which focused on mergers and acquisitions, and related news.

Telarus accepted a private equity investment for the first time. TCG acquired a fellow Florida-based master agent. AppSmart was at it again.

Catch up on it all.
Avaya's Darcey Harrison

#7 — TBI to Sell Avaya, Makes New Hires

Avaya makes another appearance here, as master agent TBI announced a partnership with the provider as part of its “aggressive” portfolio expansion.

In the same vein, TBI introduced a pair of new channel managers to represent the Northeast and Rocky Mountain regions.

Get more details on both.
Avaya's Darcey Harrison

#6 — Curt Allen Leaves Vonage

It came as a surprise to many when a big name stepped away from his job as Vonage channel chief.

Curt Allen, best known for his 11 years as president of X4 Solutions, cited a change at CEO as a reason for his departure from Vonage. Jim Regan takes over as channel boss.

“The near-term mission pivoted when Alan Maserak left and Rory Read came in,” Allen told us. “I believe they are on a path to success, but that given the shift I was not the right leader for the channel organization at this time.”

Allen is also known for his run as Windstream channel chief. Find out more about why he left.
Telarus' Meghan Hambacher Wilkinson

#5 — Channel People on the Move

Our monthly spotlight on new hires and promotions in the channel lands at No. 5. Avant's Shane McNamara and Jen Gallego, picture above, were among those taking a step forward in their careers.

See who else took on bigger leadership roles in December.
INAP's Warren Greenberg

#4 — Broadband Deployment Issues

CenturyLink and Frontier Communications each came forward before the FCC could slap their hands. The communications giants acknowledged they didn't meet broadband deployment guidelines.

CenturyLink said it’s on track to complete all of its required deployments by the end of this year. Frontier noted that the COVID-19 pandemic slowed its progress.

To receive funding from the federal Connect America Fund (CAF) Phase II, companies are required to meet a deployment threshold.

Learn more about this complicated regulatory issue.
CloudSphere's Jane Gilson

#3 — Channel Partners' Excellence in Digital Services Awards

You're getting psyched up to take home a prestigious industry honor.

Our partner audience flocked to our Excellence in Digital Services page to find out how to apply. While our deadline just passed, don't hesitate to check it out to see how you can get recognized in 2022.
Intel's Pat Gelsinger

#2 — Telarus Adds CenturyLink Vet to Leadership Team

Continuing the people-on-the-move theme,  Telarus added to its senior leadership team with a new chief revenue officer.

Meghan Hambacher Wilkinson spent eight years with Lumen Technologies/CenturyLink before landing her new gig. She will oversee Telarus' revenue streams and drive growth, working with area vice presidents and senior partner development managers.

Get to know Wilkinson.
INAP's Warren Greenberg

#1 — Frontier Bankruptcy Exit Coming Soon

One of our most popular stories from 2020 stayed strong in January.

On Oct., 16, 2020, we told you how Frontier Communications was planning an exit from bankruptcy in early 2021. Well, it hasn't happened yet — perhaps a reason for why this story is still getting your attention.

At the time of our story, the New York Public Service Commission had just signed off on the company's restructuring plan. Frontier plans to reduce its debt by a whopping $10 billion.

We'll let you know just as soon as the company emerges from chapter 11; meantime, check out more on our No. 1 story of the month.

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