Avaya Names Stephen Spears Chief Revenue Officer

Stephen Spears, chief revenue officer, Avaya
Stephen Spears, chief revenue officer, Avaya

Avaya has hired SAP veteran Stephen Spears will join the cloud services and unified communications company in the newly created role of chief revenue officer (CRO).

Spears joins Avaya after a 17-year tenure at SAP in various executive roles, including as chief revenue officer of SAP SuccessFactors from 2017 to 2020. Now at Avaya, Spears will oversee the strategy, performance and alignment of revenue operations for Avaya, helping to drive the company’s growth strategy for customers and partners worldwide, the company said in a statement.

He will have full ownership of the company’s revenue generating organizations, customer lifecycle and go-to-client functions, including global sales and marketing, partner management and all channel-related activities, according to Avaya. Spears will report to president and CEO Jim Chirico.

Avaya Names CRO: Executive Perspectives

In a prepared statement about his career move, Spears said:

“Joining Avaya at this critical juncture in their long-term strategy demonstrates Avaya’s continuing commitment to their extensive customer base and vibrant ecosystem. Putting people at the center of communications is at the heart of every successful business worldwide, and Avaya’s unwavering commitment to this goal will help drive a customer-centric approach that will generate top-line growth and sustainable solutions for decades to come.  I am thrilled to be joining such an experienced and passionate management team.”

Added Chirico:

“Stephen has a keen understanding of what it takes to drive sales, marketing and customer success, making him an ideal fit to help lead execution on our very deliberate strategy,” said Jim Chirico. “The re-imagined Avaya has never been more relevant to our growing base of customers and partners globally, and the way we are executing shows the winning mentality, expanding commitment to our customers, and strong culture of Avaya. We could not be more excited to have Stephen join our team.”

Avaya's Cloud Rebrand

Avaya emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017. The company has shifted from hardware to a cloud-based business model.

An investment from RingCentral arrived in 2019. In August 2020, Avaya rebranded its entire entire communications portfolio under the Avaya OneCloud name, effectively positioning itself as a cloud services provider.

Avaya OneCloud spans the entire Avaya product line, which is focused on contact-center-as-a-service (CCaaS), unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS), and communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS). Avaya offers a range of operational, consumption and commercial models that can be deployed on-premises as well as through Avaya's private and public cloud offerings, according to the company.

The move doubles down on Avaya’s bet that focusing on software, cloud and subscription-based solutions will pay off for the company, its channel partners and customers.

Avaya does about 80 percent of its business through the reseller channel; in May of 2020 on the company’s Q2 earnings call, Chirico said about 75 percent of the company’s subscription revenues were partner-led. Simon Harrison, Avaya’s chief marketing officer, said in early August that Avaya was seeing “especially high demand” for Avaya OneCloud subscriptions, something that customers can buy through partners.

Subscription revenue during Avaya’s second quarter accounted for 88 percent of Avaya’s total revenue, according to the company, as the COVID-19 pandemic spurred demand for cloud-based communications services.