Lori Cornmesser, Ixia's first-ever worldwide channel chief, will leave the company at the end of 2017 due to the planned regionalization of the company's channel program.
Cornmesser said her departure comes as a result of new owner Keysight Technologies' approach of integrating channel and field sales in each operating region rather than supporting a global channel organization. The Santa Rosa, Calif.-based electronics manufacturer purchased Calabasas, Calif.-based Ixia in April for $1.6 billion.
"I feel very good about building the channel strategy, the program and the team at Ixia," Cornmesser said. "I am ready for my next step."
Cornmesser joined Ixia in October 2013 at a time when the company had roughly 100 global channel partners, but lacked a formal partner program. Four years later, Ixia has more than 1,200 partners in its ecosystem, with the channel accounting for roughly 60 percent of the company's $485 million of annual sales.
"It's been a really good journey for me," Cornmesser said. "There's a lot to be proud of."
Because of the reorganization, Ixia's Director of North American Channels Kelly Miller will transition from reporting to Cornmesser to reporting to the company's vice president of North American sales. Miller has 10 people reporting to him, including six U.S.-based channel account managers.
The new structure will allow Ixia to leverage economies of scale and enable channel partners to work with both channel account managers and field sales resources in each region, according to Scott Jacobs, director of global channel strategy, marketing and operations. Work around the evolution and strategy of Ixia's channel program will shift from Cornmesser to Jacobs, he said.
Tighter alignment between Ixia's field and channel resources will make it easier for the company to executive a unified, cohesive strategy in a particular region, according to Jacobs. The increased alignment is particularly important given Ixia's February commitment to drive 100 percent of enterprise sales through channel partners, Jacobs said.
Solution providers should expect to see more joint engagements at the field level and a greater number of resources talking to the partner community, Miller said. Ixia has 550 North American channel partners and 28 employees in its channel organization, according to Cornmesser's 2017 CRN Channel Chiefs profile.
"We have a robust channel ecosystem," Jacobs said.
A strategic decision about Cornmesser's role was made in September and announced internally to the Ixia team in October and to the company's partner base in early November, Cornmesser said. Cornmesser said she agreed to stay with the company until the end of the year.
Going forward, Cornmesser said she would be interested in a channel or commercial leadership role with another security, cloud, networking, or virtualization vendor. Cornmesser said she is starting conversations about future employment opportunities.
"I have a lot of experience in this space," Cornmesser said.
Cornmesser brought great energy and lots of creativity to her interactions with channel partners, according to Terrence Boylan, founder and CEO of Warren, R.I.-based PacketLogix. She took the "unheard of" step of inviting channel partners to Ixia's inside sales events, Boylan said, and organized and presented at those events in a way that made them worthwhile for solution providers.
"She has a keen insight into the channel," Boylan told CRN. "She understands that, to make a channel effective, sometimes you have to do a lot of conversion."
Boylan believes the Ixia's new regional model could help the company get more mileage out of its channel partners, and said the company has some other talented people in its channel organization that could step up into more of a leadership role. Still, Boylan believes that Cornmesser's departure will be a loss for Ixia.
"She brought a lot to the table," Boylan said. "I think the Ixia executive team understood the value that she brought."