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Watkins, Kirby Out at T-Mobile as Verizon Alum Takes Sales Lead

The new hire sponsored many key channel program changes at Verizon.

James Anderson

February 24, 2022

3 Min Read
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T-Mobile partners will engage with new channel leadership going forward, as George Fischer takes over sales in the company’s business group.

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T-Mobile’s George Fischer

Fischer will serve as senior vice president of sales for T-Mobile for Business. He replaces James Kirby, who is moving on to a new opportunity. In addition, Pat Watkins, vice president of partner and IoT sales, is leaving T-Mobile. The changes come about a year after Watkins came into the position to help realign T-Mobile’s co-selling strategy.

Fischer most recently worked as chief relationship management officer and senior vice president of global sales for Fiserv. The channel better knows him for his 15-year tenure at CA Technologies and six-year tenure at Verizon.

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Pat Watkins

Janet Schijns’ channel consultancy JS Group works with T-Mobile. She said channel partners should see the appointment as a major catch for T-Mobile.

“He’s a channel friend. He’s a channel advocate. He has a huge background in enterprise and midmarket and understands how to work through the intricacies of a deal,” she said.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in January.

Moreover, Schijns and Fischer worked together at Verizon from 2014-2017 when she was the company’s channel chief. Fischer’s roles at Verizon included senior vice president of global sales and president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

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JS Group’s Janet Schijns

In addition, Schijns said Fischer sponsored many of the changes she implemented in the Verizon partner program. She was reporting directly to him for many of those years.

“He was instrumental in helping the Verizon channel, when we enhanced the program and made the partners happy at Verizon,” she said.

Kirby and Watkins

Kirby had worked at T-Mobile since 2007. He took on the role of senior vice president of T-Mobile for Business in 2019. Following T-Mobile’s integration with Sprint, Kirby got the nod to oversee indirect and direct sales for the business unit. Under his leadership, T-Mobile enhanced its commission structure to reward the direct sales team for working with partners on deals.

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James Kirby

Schijns said she expects Fischer to build on the culture of co-selling.

“We’re now in a channel ecosystem reality where no one goes to the table alone,” she said. “There are multiple parties in every deal. That’s where the channel’s power comes to play. We’re going see George build on the work that’s already been done and continue to propel forward.”

Watkins worked at T-Mobile for about 17 years. She started leading IoT sales in 2017 and continued that role when she took on channel chief duties in 2020. She replaced Tim Acker.

Schijns praised Watkins’ character. Schijns said partners will remember Watkins for meeting T-Mobile partners where they were.

“She brought a culture of meeting partners at the table with T-Mobile,” Schijns said. “She brought a culture of partnership, and that’s an important first step.”

Watkins recently earned a Channel Influencer recognition from Channel Futures.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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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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