The recent restructuring at Comcast Business could help the company sell more effectively the company's Masergy portfolio into the enterprise space, according to one partner.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

November 20, 2023

5 Min Read
Comcast Business restructuring details
Restructuring Mameraman/Shutterstock

Comcast Business' recent restructuring will help the company "accelerate enterprise solutions," according to a statement from the company.

Comcast Business last week said it would fold its indirect channel marketing and indirect channel operations teams into its headquarters teams for marketing and sales operations. That shift came with a reduction in force that impacted employees in the hundreds. A significant impact has come to the channel operations side, with vice president of indirect sales operations Scott Mull and senior director of partner operations Anne Aalders involved in the RIF.

Channel leader Craig Schlagbaum will leave the company at the end of the year. Matthew Fassnacht, formerly national vice president of enterprise solutions at Comcast Business, will take on the role of vice president of indirect channel sales. Terry Connell, to whom Schlagbaum has been reporting, will oversee the "unified headquarters sales channel," according to an email Comcast Business sent to its partners last week from Schlagbaum.

Comcast Business provided the following statement to Channel Futures:

"This week, Comcast Business announced a functional realignment of teams to support our customer needs and to position the company to scale as we accelerate enterprise solutions and maintain our leadership in small business. Our brand and team are stronger than ever, as is our commitment to our thriving partner community. Terry Connell has built and provided consistent leadership to various sales channels since the inception of Comcast Business 17 years ago and has established a highly capable team under Craig, committed to providing best-in-class solutions and experiences to our customers and partners. We are investing to maximize growth and reach customers wherever they are globally. This new model will allow us to better leverage our overall Comcast Business resources for even more support — driving more collaboration with our direct counterparts and helping Comcast Business become an even more channel-centric organization."

Related:Comcast Business Restructuring Hits Channel

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Ian Kieninger, CEO Chicago-based TSD and Comcast Business partner Avant, said that while the channel will miss some of the faces that are leaving Comcast Business, he has confidence in Connell and Fassnacht's commitment to partners. And other partners echoed the endorsement of Connell and Fassnacht in interviews last week.

Comcast Business and the Enterprise

The statement from the service provider makes reference to accelerating enterprise solutions. Comcast's journey up-market from mainly serving SMBs has been well documented. The company was an early adopter of SD-WAN in the cableco space, with the stated intention of providing off-network services to more midmarket, multilocation customers.

Related:Partners: Craig Schlagbaum Made Comcast 'Consistent'

Then the 2021 acquisition of Masergy signaled serious intentions to target enterprise and even international customers.

Kieninger said the current restructuring may reflect an intention to leverage Masergy assets more.

"They have some great really great assets, strategy and products that are probably underutilized. For example, with the Masergy acquisition, they landed a top-tier enterprise grade network, and product set, not to mention customer base," Kieninger told Channel Futures. "I would assume that part of this restructure is to take advantage of that investment and to push further up-market.”

Kieninger said Avant focuses more on the up-market opportunities than down-market deals that focus on coax. The latter group of partners may may be more concerned about how the restructuring will impact their sales.

Better and Faster?

Comcast Business in its statement and in Schlagbaum's email to partners said that the folding of channel marketing and channel operations organizations into larger Comcast Business teams will expand the amount of support partners will experience. The company also stated that "mutual sales" can increase as a result of the integration. Comcast Business has touted channel integrated sales in the last year.

Partners in interviews with Channel Futures are expressing a mix of feedback about the realignment. On one hand, one partner said partners could get more resources in a faster manner as a result of indirect and direct sales operating in the same teams. Other partners said they worry about getting lost in a large organization, after having teams dedicated to channel.

"I'm concerned that it will be much harder to get the support that we need, because there will be fewer resources supporting the agent channel," said one partner, who requested anonymity.

Personnel updates

Aaron Walker is leading the sales operation team at Comcast Business, according to the letter. Derek Drisdale is senior manager of the indirect channel operations team, which now exists as part of the sales operations team.

The letter noted that Walker previously worked with Comcast Business' carrier and aggregator sales teams. Schlagbaum in the letter emphasized that Walker "has a solid understanding of the partner community."

According to Comcast Business' letter, executive director of indirect channel sales Cody Calhoun will oversee partner sales managers and inside partner sales managers. Those two positions will expand with more people, according to the letter.

Comcast Business provided its statement to Channel Futures in response to seven questions we asked about the restructuring. In particular, Channel Futures is seeking to clarify a comment Comcast Cable CEO David Watson made in a recent earnings call about "adding some people that can drive midmarket and enterprise where the customers' locations are."

In other personnel details, Albert Krivopisk is overseeing the distribution partner sales teams, which includes TSDs, retailers and "call center partners." Vivian Chavez will be leading partner support for that group, according to the letter.

Maureen O'Connell is leading the national partner sales team.

Dalyn Wertz and her partner marketing team have moved into the Comcast Business marketing team and will continue to work fully on channel marketing.

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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