Juniper retools channel management team

Luanne Tierney - Juniper

Former Cisco channel marketing chief Tierney is headed to Juniper

Juniper Networks is starting the year in the channel off with a bang, introducing a new worldwide channel chief and bringing in a familiar face to serve as the company’s global channel marketing chief.

Over a period of less than 24 hours, the networking company announced that it has hired Luanne Tierney, formerly vice president of global partner marketing at Cisco, for the same role at Juniper. It then introduced former Microsoft AsiaPac executive Emilio Umeoka as its new senior vice president of worldwide partners, in other words, its new channel chief.

Here are the details and some thoughts on the appointments.

Juniper’s worldwide channel chief position had been vacant since May 2010, when Frank Vitagliano stepped out of the role for a new positions as SVP of partners for the Americas, a move Vitagliano said would put him back in the field. In his new role as SVP of worldwide partners, Umeoka will report to John Morris, executive vice president of field operations for Juniper.

Quoth Morris from the press release:

“Umeoka’s proven international experience strengthens our executive leadership team and brings tremendous business value and street credibility to Juniper’s global channel organization and the thousands of partners we do business with worldwide,” said Morris. “Under Umeoka’s leadership, we plan to build on the success of our worldwide partner organization and ensure best practices, programs and resources are shared throughout our global Juniper Partner community.”

Prior to Juniper, Umeoka was based in Singapore and president of Microsoft’s Asia Pacific region, the latest in a series of connections between Juniper and Microsoft dating back to the company bringing in former Microsoft platforms chief Kevin Johnson as its new CEO in June of 2008. Juniper also notes that the Brazilian-born Umeoka has channel experience, having “led a top Value Added Remarketer in Brazil.”

With Tierney, Juniper brings aboard an executive who’s built her reputation by redefining her role – as much as she focused on marketing to Cisco’s broad array of partners, she made the job about marketing with partners. One need look no further than Cisco’s Partner Velocity event, an annual event where Cisco brings together third-party marketing gurus to discuss the latest and hottest trends in marketing with partners, for evidence of Tierney’s transformation of the position.

And if she’s true to form in her new role, expect to see Juniper’s channel marketing taking on a lot more social terms – as much as every marketing executive loves the idea of social media, Tierney has been a leader, along with IBM Software Group’s Sandy Carter, of leading the charge for the use of social media both as a communications tool with partners, and as a communications tool for partners.

In a Twitter message responding to Umeoka’s welcome to Juniper, Tierney indicated she starts at the company on Feb. 7.

Umeoka and Tierney are just the latest in a series of high-profile executive overhauls in recent months – just last week, the company also introduced Brad Brooks, formerly Microsoft’s consumer marketing and product management chief for Windows, as its new vice president of worldwide enterprise marketing and solutions. Again, note the Juniper-Microsoft connection.

And in the “apropos of nothing” category:  Toronto-based Maverick Public Relations last week announced it’s back as Juniper’s PR agency in Canada. Normally, this kind of appointment clearly doesn’t make the list of news to print, but in light of their significant executive announcements, and coming off a year when Juniper’s communications strategy (particularly in Canada) seemed to be all but non-existent, call it another bit of evidence that the company is looking to make some noise in 2011.