Parallels Summit: Birger Steen Named CEO Amid SMB Cloud Push
Birger Steen, a former small business executive at Microsoft, has been promoted to the CEO post of Parallels. Meanwhile, Parallels founder and outgoing CEO, Serguei Beloussov, will continue his full-time role as Executive Chairman. The move, announced at Parallels Summit in Orlando, comes as Parallels attempts to rally channel partners, service providers and hosting partners around SMB cloud computing and hosted PBX services.
Parallels had asked for the CEO news to be held until 10:30 a.m. eastern today. But Parallels has already posted a press release about the news on its Web site so the news is going viral… and TalkinCloud is going with the story. Update, 10:10: Beloussov has just announced Steen as CEO. Interesting twist: Steen says he has previously overseen an IPO (initial public offering).
Part of the Plan
After a successful stint running Microsoft’s global SMB efforts, Steen joined Parallels about six months ago as president. Parallels founder and outgoing CEO Beloussov will continue his full-time role as Executive Chairman of the Board and Chief Architect driving the company’s strategy and innovation, according to a company statement.
During Parallels Summit, Steen has been busy describing how channel partners, serving SMB customers, can profit from the cloud (see FastChat Video, left).
“From the beginning we were thinking about promoting Birger,” said Beloussov during a press briefing last night. “I’m happy it happened sooner rather than later… Parallels’ business strategy up to this point was mostly in my head; that’s not scalable. A published strategy is needed in the field to help the team make decisions based on that strategy.”
Beloussov said Parallels has pushed beyond the $100 million revenue mark and the company is profitable. Much of the growth strategy involves Parallels working with the smallest hosting providers to the largest service providers. “We are extremely partner focused,” said Beloussov. “We never sell direct in the service provider market.”
Based on his duel experience at Microsoft and Parallels, Steen said Parallels has one of the more mature cloud channel partner programs in the market today. “We see the classic VARs, ISVs and telecom providers coming in,” to the Parallels partner program, Steen added.
Meanwhile, Beloussov says Parallels wants to succeed in the cloud the way Intel succeeded with the old “Intel Inside” marketing campaign. “We want to be visible to the SMB, and we want to make sure our channel to SMB remains service providers,” said Beloussov.
Separately, Parallels has launched a hosted PBX initiative for channel partners, as TalkinCloud predicted several weeks ago. We’ll share more details later today.