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The VAR Guy

May 11, 2011

3 Min Read
Novell: Top Executives Exit As Channel Partner Update Approaches

Several of Novell‘s top executives — including Ronald W. Hovsepian, Dana C. Russell, John K. Dragoon, Colleen A. O’Keefe, Scott N. Semel and James P. Ebzery — have exited the company following Attachmate‘s recent buyout of Novell. Sources say Novell has made additional staff cuts. Next up, Attachmate and Novell must move quickly to publicly describe Novell’s channel, collaboration and security strategies going forward. The good news: Novell’s partner program remains unchanged. The big question: Which Novell executive will lead that program going forward?

The Novell executive departures were disclosed in an April 28 SEC filing. The VAR Guy thinks some of the departures were easily predicted while others were somewhat surprising. For instance…

  • Hardly surprising: The exits of CEO Hovsepian, CFO Russell and Senior VP/General Counsel Semel, since their positions were redundant with Attachmate positions. Also, Chief Marketing Officer/Channel Chief Dragoon disclosed his departure publicly in a blog post.

  • Somewhat surprising: The exits of Senior VPs/GMs O’Keefe and Ebzery. O’Keefe was closely involved with Novell’s services business and collaboration software efforts, particularly Novell GroupWise. Ebzery oversaw Novell’s identity management and security businesses.

  • Big Numbers?: Also, a published report from Utah suggests roughly 800 Novell positions have been eliminated in recent weeks.

Channel Leaders?

According to the Novell and Attachmate web sites, neither company has issued any press releases since the Attachmate deal closed on April 27. But The VAR Guy expects some updates soon from Novell and Attachmate. In particular, the company is expected to reaffirm its channel commitments within a few weeks, perhaps even naming a specific person to lead Novell’s channel partner efforts.

In the meantime The VAR Guy is checking the status of additional Novell channel sources including:

  • Global Director of Partner Marketing Dan Dufault: His LinkedIn bio continues to list current employment with Novell, but some recent recommendations from bosses and peers seem to indicate that Dufault may have exited Novell in recent weeks… The VAR Guy is double-checking Dufault’s status. Dufault joined Novell in March 2009 after holding channel positions at Panda Security, Kaspersky Lab, CollabNet and Progress Software.

  • VP of Partner Marketing and Enablement Scott Lewis: He was quoted in a May 9, 2011, press release about two Novell channel partners merging. That quote — and Lewis’ LinkedIn bio — suggest he’s still with Novell. Lewis has held key Novell roles since 1994.

Worth Watching

The Attachmate-Novell deal arrived just as Novell was pushing into several new markets. In addition to its core businesses (SUSE Linux, identity and security management, workload management), Novell has been busy launching the Novell Cloud Security Service and the Novell Vibe enterprise social network platform.

Moreover, Novell has opened registration for BrainShare (Oct. 10-14, Salt Lake City, Utah). In a May 4 tweet, Novell indicated: “brainshare is full steam ahead. Looking forward to seeing everyone in October.”

In the meantime, The VAR Guy patiently awaits a channel update from Attachmate and Novell. Best guess: Novell will start chatting up the channel with the media before the end of May.

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