Security Staff Acquisition & Development

How Intermedia Hired Microsoft’s Eric Martorano

Eric Martorano
Eric Martorano
Mike Gold

Loyal ChannelE2E readers know Microsoft channel veteran Eric Martorano is set to join Intermedia tomorrow (Sept. 15) -- one day after a private equity firm confirmed plans to acquire Intermedia. But how exactly did Intermedia score such a high-profile hire to drive cloud sales amid an ownership change? The answer involves business building, relationship building and strategic use of executive recruiters. CEO Mike Gold shared some of the details with ChannelE2E.

Let's start with business building. A key inflection point arrived in 2011, when Oak Hill Capital Partners acquired Intermedia. (Update: Oak Hill today confirmed plans to sell Intermedia to another private equity firm). As part of the 2011 Oak Hill deal, executive leaders like Phil Koen and Mike Gold arrived.

Over the past five years, Intermedia has transformed from a traditional hosted Exchange provider into a full fledged cloud services provider. The company's recurring revenue offerings include voice, managed workspaces, business continuity, data protection and more.

By mid-2015, Intermedia promoted Mike Gold to CEO. At the time, the company had more than 65,000 customers, 5,500 active partners, and 700 employees. Overall, the company's journey from 2011 to present day has helped Intermedia to work more closely with Microsoft, instead of going to war with the technology giant amid Office 365's cloud gains.

Eric Martorano: "Getting to Know You"

Intermedia's overall business journey paved the way for a cordial relationship with Eric Martorano -- one of Microsoft's top cloud and channel veterans. "I had the opportunity to meet with Intermedia quite a few times and I first met Mike about five years ago," Martorano says. "Intermedia has been one of Microsoft's most strategic partners. I've seen their growth, and it impressed me."

CEO Mike Gold recalls those early meetings with Martorano. But the opportunity to potentially hire him didn't emerge until recent months. Indeed, Intermedia retained Heidrick & Struggles to conduct an extensive search for sales leader.

Heidrick & Struggles is one of the best-known executive search firms in the technology market. The company has played key roles in CEO searches for companies as large and influential as IBM.

As part of Intermedia's search, "Many impressive candidates were surfaced from many of the leading cloud software and partner-driven companies," Gold tells ChannelE2E. "Eric stood out for his unique combination of knowledge of the Microsoft products and ecosystem, partner channel success, operating a sales organization at scale, and culture fit. It took only a couple of hours in our first interview to see that the fit was clear and compelling. He was the guy."

Due Diligence

Over the ensuing weeks, Gold validated his beliefs in Martorano by speaking with other leaders in the channel community and at Microsoft, and "they consistently highlighted that he is a strong leader, a good partner and a terrific person. He will fit in well as he continues to build a great channel company with us at Intermedia."

That next step in the journey -- for Intermedia and Martorano -- begins tomorrow, when he officially joins the company on September 15. "Our company priority is clear and simple," says Gold. "Continue to grow fast by investing even more in the partner channel, including new programs, tools and resources that address every step in the customer lifecycle."

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.