Kaspersky Lab Fills Enterprise Leadership Gap

Kaspersky Lab is filling in leadership gaps that will put it on firmer ground as the company looks to rev its channel for an upward expansion into new and more lucrative markets.

To propel its ambitions, the Moscow-based endpoint security firm appointed industry vet William Cunningham as Kaspersky Lab vice president, enterprise sales North America.

Cunningham comes on board Kaspersky Lab after serving as vice president of sales at online identity firm WhiteSky, a role in which he increased sales and expanded monetization efforts around the company’s product lines, while also securing a few new major client wins for the firm’s products.

Prior to his position at WhiteSky, Cunningham served as the vice president of sales and business development at online backup firm Carbonite Inc., a position in which he bulked up channel leadership acumen by implementing lead generation, managing a direct sales force and establishing a reseller channel program, among other things.

Now in his new role, Cunningham will be tasked to oversee and direct the company’s enterprise field sales organization in North America, a job which includes managing all field sales activity for the region’s customers.

“Bill has years of relevant experience—both in sales leadership and in working with the enterprise—and there is no better time for us to tap into his insights and knowhow as we continue to innovate new information security technologies for large organizations,” said Chris Doggett, senior vice president of corporate sales. “Those organizations are seeking solutions in new areas such as virtualized environments and industrial control systems, as well as seeking real-time intelligence, attack alerting and highly effective response capabilities.  We’re confident that under Bill’s leadership that we’ll increasingly demonstrate to enterprises that not only is Kaspersky at the forefront of business information security technology, but that we offer the best possible protection and solutions that they won’t find elsewhere.”

Meanwhile, Cunningham’s appointment fills in some crucial leadership gaps opened during a four-year period of executive musical chairs at the company. Cunningham, who will report to Doggett, fills an open gap in North American enterprise and channel sales. At the end of last year, Doggett stepped up from his position as head of North American channel sales to lead corporate sales at Kaspersky Lab, a position that was vacated by the October 2012 departure of Nancy Reynolds, who had served in that role since January 2010.

As previously mentioned by Channelnomics, channel chief positions at the security firm have revolved with surprising regularity over the last four years. Since June of 2009, channel leadership roles have been held – and left — by John Eddy, Kristen Capone, Gary Abad and finally Doggett.

While it’s unclear if the frequent executive turnover has significantly stymied the firm from moving forward in its enterprise and expanded channel ambitions, it likely doesn’t help.

And these days Kaspersky Lab has little room to get comfortable. The firm has stated that its plans to make a bigger strides into the enterprise, in part driven by the January release of its Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business, which trumpets systems management, data encryption, application control and other features desirable to large market verticals.

The Russia-based company is also attempting to make more concerted forays into virtualization and mobile device management, a necessity in order to stay relevant in upstream markets.

Even still, the firm faces nearest competitors Sophos Ltd. and Trend Micro Inc., which have made headway in both mobile and cloud arenas, as well as firms such as FireEye Inc. and others that are edging into endpoint security market with advanced threat prowess.

The fact that Kaspersky Lab has major channel leadership roles covered is likely a baseline requirement in order to move forward with its ambitions in any meaningful way.