New regional Sophos leader targets channel growth

New regional Sophos leader targets channel growth

McAfee veteran Gavin Struthers takes control of Asia Pacific and Japan

Gavin Struthers (Sophos)

Gavin Struthers (Sophos)

Credit: Sophos

Sophos has appointed Gavin Struthers as regional vice president of Asia Pacific and Japan, with the remit of driving market growth through the channel.

Channel Asia can reveal that the security veteran commenced his new role at the vendor in early January, replacing the already departed Joergen Jakobsen, and is tasked with overseeing strategy, go-to-market planning and operations regionally.

“Gavin’s industry knowledge and depth of channel understanding will be critical to our growth and expansion across the APJ region as we continue to deliver our channel first, channel best strategy,” said Michael Valentine, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Sophos.

“I look forward to working with him to deliver the products, services, and programs our channel partners need to succeed and grow.”

Prior to Sophos, Struthers headed up the Asia Pacific business at McAfee for almost four years, during a career spanning 16 years with the vendor.

During this time, Struthers held five senior sales management positions, including senior vice president of worldwide channel operations based out of San Francisco, in addition to a regional director role across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).

From a channel standpoint, Struthers collaborated with partners, distributors and managed service providers to deliver sales strategies and growth across the region.

“The key to growing a successful business in the Asia Pacific region is to nurture and support the right channel partners,” said Struthers, when speaking to Channel Asia. “Sophos has a global reputation for focusing 100 per cent on its channel and for providing the programs that partners need and the products that customers demand.

“The innovation that Sophos is delivering to the industry through its synchronised security vision uniquely positions the brand in the market.”

"Continuing momentum"

According to Struthers, a key focus will centre around “continuing momentum” in the wider region, backed up aggressive growth plans through the vendor's channel business.

“This role is about continuing the success of Sophos in the region,” added Struthers. “It’s been a great growth story over the last few years.

“Through my leadership background, I will focus on the people and the culture of our high-performance teams, and ensuring we drive growth through our channel.”

Following a six-month sabbatical, Struthers said the decision to join Sophos was driven by a desire to stay within an expanding security space, aligning to a market-leading vendor in the process.

“I wanted to stay within security,” Struthers added. “For customers, this is still a mystical area of the market because it changes constantly. They struggle to get the balance right in an industry that is so noisy with new players and emerging technologies.

“When I look at Sophos, which a growth business, I believe they have a breadth of solution from the end-point to the network which speaks to making security simple through innovation. Nobody else really does that well, especially in the mid-market and enterprise space.”

Channel strategy

For Struthers, the vendor’s channel strategy will consist of a “depth and breadth” play regionally, designed to up-skill partners while also expanding market coverage.

“Most vendors will try and play in the high-end in terms of taking their technology to market,” Struthers explained. “But if you think of key market segments, you have a value play in which you drive quality and work with partners that are experts and offer managed services.

“In our world that is the Brennan IT and Somerville Group type of partners in Australia, for example. We work with these types of partners to create an enriched experience for their customers. But the trick is to continue to grow, both for our partners and our business.”

In “moving down the stack” to the small and medium business sector, Struthers said coverage is of equal importance, especially outside of key cities and regions.

“If you have capabilities from partners in regional towns and cities, you cover more of the market,” Struthers added. "We have to deliver both depth and breadth through our channel and our programs. Our product, solution and program must be relevant for partners.”

The appointment of Struthers comes days after Ashley Wearne vacated his position as general manager of Sophos across A/NZ, exiting the business after almost seven years.

As revealed by ARN, the leader has transitioned out of the role effective immediately, informing internal staff and channel partners in the process.

“I would like to thank Ashley for the six years he has been with us managing our A/NZ business,” added Kendra Krause, vice president of Global Channels at Sophos. “Under Ashley’s leadership, our A/NZ business has delivered record quarterly sales and more than doubled in size.

“Ashley has also been responsible for building a tight-knit, talented team, and the continued expansion and nurturing of our partner community. He leaves the business in an excellent position and we wish him all the success in his next endeavour.”

Going forward, Struthers said a search for a replacement is underway, with the newly appointed leader taking a more hands-on role until a replacement is found.

“We don’t put a timeline on these things but ideally we would like the new leader to start by our new financial year, starting in April,” he added. “We’re deep into planning for FY20 so I’m in a period of emersion at this stage.

"At the same time, I’m meeting with distributors and partners to ensure I’m plugged into the business. The 2020 plan will determine our key pillars and strategies but when things are going well, it’s about how we tweak aspects of what we do and find new routes to markets.”

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