Former RingCentral VP to Lead Fusion Connect Channel

He is set to take over channel efforts for the company, which announced various other leadership changes.

Moshe Beauford, Contributing Editor

January 4, 2024

3 Min Read
Fusion Connect channel hires
Brasil Creativo/Shutterstock

Fusion Connect partners have a new channel head in longtime channel vet Jeff Winnett. He now acts as vice president of global channel sales for the company, leading efforts at the Fusion Connect channel. Before that, Winnett held positions at RingCentral as vice president of partner sales for North America and Australia.

Winnett further had a brief assignment as head of global channel sales and commercial excellence leader of Honeywell International's software solutions. He also held a role at Vonage as the firm's national vice president of sales. 

Fusion Connect's Jeff Winnett

With even more staff restructuring to announce, Fusion Connect said that David Kula, a former Microsoft sales executive, will head global direct sales as vice president.

"His expertise will drive Fusion Connect's ambition to become Microsoft's leading Operator Connect partner in North America," the company said.

Furthermore, Mario DeRiggi will retire as CRO with Pieter Uittenbogaard taking over as executive VP of growth and strategy, managing direct and Fusion Connect channel sales along with account management, solution engineering and sales operations. He will report directly to the Fusion chief executive officer Brian Crotty. 

"He will continue to spearhead the company's ongoing Microsoft expansion and sales enablement strategy, a critical facet of the company's future growth plan," the company wrote in a statement. 

Related:Channel People on the Move: Lumen, Pax8, 8x8, Microsoft, More

More Personnel Reshuffling in 2024

We spoke with David Smith, founder/principal of InFlow Analysis, who said that "it is that time of year for layoffs, for hiring new staff, and overall personnel shake-ups."

"From the end of last year until now, we have seen a lot of changes in companies in the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) industry. That usually goes hand-in-hand with layoffs due to overhiring. It is all part ... of keeping up with the Joneses, increasing staff and adding new talent," Smith told Channel Futures. 

In addition, Smith said the UCC industry is prone to massive change as companies try to stay ahead of competitors by attracting talent from those very rivals. 

"All this underscores the importance of the channel and someone with experience to take efforts to the next level, especially in the new year. That is key to ensuring these firms do well by hiring central people from the channel to help foster a prosperous channel," according to Smith.

Smith also shared that he foresees many more changes this year on the employee front. 

Fusion Connect Channel Leader 'Ready to Deliver'

A believer in playing the long game, acting in good faith, and being open to improvement, Bill Kohnen, vice president of professional services at Connext, called Winnett a "fantastic leader" and said that "his teams deliver 'great' results," adding that he's "exceptionably good at collaborating across functional areas and working with global teams."

Winnett told us that the company's channel program excels in nurturing relationships.

"It also excels in prioritizing the needs of our partner’s clients," said Winnett. "I'm eager to assess how we can further leverage AI-driven voice technology to maximize collaboration across platforms and transform conversations into digital assets more effectively for our partners and their clients."

With so much industry change, Winnett said he's learned what works and doesn't work.

"I've learned from both successes and challenges, understanding what works and what doesn't. This wealth of experience has prepared me to step into this role seamlessly

Winnett says he always embraced the essence of collaboration, continuous learning and adapting to change, and he doesn't expect that to change in his new position.

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About the Author(s)

Moshe Beauford

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Moshe has nearly a decade of expertise reporting on enterprise technology. Within that world, he covers breaking news, artificial intelligence, contact center, unified communications, collaboration, cloud adoption (digital transformation), user/customer experience, hardware/software, etc.

As a contributing editor at Channel Futures, Moshe covers unified communications/collaboration from a channel angle. He formerly served as senior editor at GetVoIP News and as a tech reporter at UC/CX Today.

Moshe also has contributed to Unleash, Workspace-Connect, Paste Magazine, Claims Magazine, Property Casualty 360, the Independent, Gizmodo UK, and ‘CBD Intel.’ In addition to reporting, he spends time DJing electronic music and playing the violin. He resides in Mexico.

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