Avaya Canada introduces both new country manager and new channel chief

Rejean Bourgault, who has been in the lead role in Canada since October, and Corey Mindel, who has been acting channel leader since Ange Valentini left at the end of the year, were both formally introduced at Avaya Engage.

Rejean Bourgault, Avaya Canada Managing Director and President of Sales

LAS VEGAS – At the Avaya Engage event here, Avaya Canada has made two key personnel announcements. Rejean Bourgault was formally announced as the new Canada Managing Director and President of Sales, reporting to Galib Karim, Vice President of Americas International. In addition, Corey Mindel has been named Channel Leader for Avaya Canada.

Bourgault actually began as Canada Managing Director in October, but his promotion is just now being announced. The position had been vacant since Walter Andri left the company a year ago, with Canadian authority having been handled first by vice president of Americas International Gordon Blackie and then Karim, who replaced Blackie in September

“Avaya believes a lot in promoting from within, and I’m part of that,” Bourgault said. He has been with Avaya, and Nortel before that, for the last 21 years.

Montreal-based Bourgault, who had earlier handled Avaya’s Canadian federal government business, knew all the Canadian-based engineers when he assumed the role, and quickly set about visiting the company’s key customers.

“They knew me, because in 2013 I took care of the top 75 customers in Canada,” he said. “The response from them has been very positive. Our top partners also knew me.”

Bourgault also implemented an organizational change. Avaya Canada moved from having five separate regional and federal business leaders to four, with Dave Robinson being given responsibility for the west as well as Ontario.

“Within 24 hours of Rejean being in the role, you could see the relief because he was well-known,” said Tracy Fleming, who is with the Avaya Office of the CTO in Canada. “You could see it in morale.”

A top priority has been alleviating customer concern by explaining the meaning of Avaya’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the U.S. to customers, while noting that Avaya Canada is not directly affected by this.

“We have been very transparent, and have created email broadcasts that go out through Salesforce explaining the Chapter 11 to customers, that it doesn’t affect transactions in Canada, and that payment terms are identical,” Bourgault said. “We have not had any large customers who stopped dealing with us over this.

“I went through this with Nortel, which I think helps,” Bourgault added.

“In Canada we have 60,000 SMB customers, mainly IP Office and over 5,000 government and large enterprise, with these being most of the revenue,” Bourgault stated. “Zang is showing good traction at the beginning. 80 per cent of Canadian revenue is from partners, including all the SMB.”

“In Canada, we had a fantastic 2016,” said Santiago Aguirre, ‎Senior Director, Americas International, Channel & Distribution at ‎Avaya. “We saw 60 per cent growth in networking, and good growth in other key technologies. The adoption of networking in Canada compared to other regions has been very positive. Customers are not just updating, but are buying other vendors to replace our technology.

Aguirre said in the last year, they have been able to strengthen distribution programs to incentivize Canadian VARs.

“We were able to increase some of the distis’ presence in Canada with us, with programs to make sure they recruit and bring on new partners,” he said. “All of our distributors in Canada – Westcon, Ingram and Tech Data – saw their business increase, with Westcon in particular doing a great job of promoting our program by enabling new partners.”

Corey Mindel, channel leader, Avaya Canada

The other new personnel move, the appointment of Corey Mindel as channel leader in Canada, fills the gap created when Ange Valentini left at the end of December.

Mindel, like Bourgault, is another promotion from within, and another ex-Nortel guy who came to Avaya in that acquisition.

“Corey has been with Avaya for seven years, and has been interim in the role since Ange left,” Bourgault said. He had previously been Avaya’s Canadian Channel VAR Leader.