Channel chiefs, Channel partner programs, MSP, VAR

Sources: AVG Hires Cisco Veteran for SMB Fix

Fred Gerritse
Fred Gerritse

AVG Technologies has hired Cisco Systems Inc. channel veteran Fred Gerritse as part of an effort to overhaul the company's SMB efforts, according to sources close to the company. In addition to previously reported layoffs, the changes also include at least one or more resignations from AVG's channel team.

Gerritse joins AVG from Cisco, where he was director of the company's partner organization and commercial business in The Netherlands, sources say. Earlier, he was Cisco's director for commercial and small business in the region.

Gerritse arrives at a critical time for AVG, which is striving to bolster is SMB security and MSP software businesses. In the consumer market, AVG's security business leans heavily on a freemium software model. But in the SMB market, AVG's product mix requires heavy hand holding and consulting to get managed services providers (MSPs) up to speed. AVG's freemium consumer mentality has pressured the SMB side of the business, sources suggest.

During an earnings call last week, AVG CEO Gary Kovacs conceded that the SMB unit wasn’t growing as quickly as expected. Without disclosing specific employee names, Kovacs announced a shakeup and 35 layoffs on that call. “This restructuring and leadership changes, we believe, will put us in the right position to capitalize on a large and growing opportunity,” Kovacs said at the time.

AVG Staff Departures

Mike Foreman

Gerritse potentially succeeds Senior VP and GM Mike Foreman, who allegedly parted ways with AVG a few weeks ago. But the changes won't end there. One or more AVG channel executives also resigned in recent days -- including VP of Channel Sales Marco La Vecchia, sources add.

La Vecchia joined AVG from N-able Technologies in August 2013. La Vecchia is a seasoned channel expert with deep MSP expertise. Part of his mandate involved bolstering Level Platforms' Managed Workplace, an MSP software platform that AVG acquired in 2013.

However, Managed Workplace has struggled under AVG's ownership. The buyout experienced multiple problems before La Vecchia's arrival, sources say, because AVG and Level Platforms did not have a clear retention plan for key Managed Workplace exports during the ownership transition. Further complicating matters, Level Platforms was navigating a pressing debt payment during the time of the sale to AVG, sources add.

Lingering Concerns

Multiple sources say AVG may shift its global channel leadership and marketing teams to a management hub in Europe -- an alleged move that has some U.S.-based MSPs concerned. However, additional sources say the channel team changes are not that dramatic, and AVG's CloudCare business in the U.S. remains unaffected by the changes.

ChannelE2E on Nov. 8, Nov. 9 and Nov. 11 reached out to AVG for comment about its SMB executive team and alleged changes. An AVG spokesperson on Nov. 9 said the company was working to have an official comment ready later this week.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.