Hackney Promises Avaya will Maintain Momentum Through Unsettled Waters

by Matt Klassen on June 30, 2010

There are three golden rules when assuming a high level management role in any company: First, lay all the existing company issues at the feet of the person you replaced. Second, downplay the role of your predecessor, and third, let your corporate partners know that everything is going to be okay. Of course, what one says when obeying any of these rules doesn’t really need to be true, it just needs to be convincing. It is with these rules well in hand that Joel Hackney, Avaya’s new Senior Vice President of Global Sales and Marketing and President of Field Operations, officially begins his tenure at Avaya.

While Hackney has avoided voicing anything disparaging towards his predecessor Todd Abbott, who reportedly left to pursue other interests amidst rumors that he had been given his walking papers, he clearly has his hands full when it comes to restoring consumer and shareholder confidence.

The simple fact is, no one likes high profile leadership changes. Regardless of the official reasoning behind it, when people like Abbott suddenly step down from a high paying influential position it’s concerning. But, as you would expect from anyone looking to sugarcoat a difficult transition, Hackney wants you to know that there’s nothing to worry about. Everything is fine!

The key issue now, however, is whether or not you actually believe him.

Unfortunately for Avaya, Todd Abbott was the senior face behind Avaya’s revamped channel development and the driving force behind the acquisition and integration of Nortel’s assets. For many, his departure was both an indication that the Nortel integration wasn’t going as planned, despite reports that Avaya is already looking to roll out Nortel’s one-stop VSP 9000 data center, and that perhaps the momentum that Avaya had gained through its acquisition of Nortel towards becoming “channel-centric” had stalled.

But, as Hackney has repeatedly stated since taking up his post a mere two weeks ago; at Avaya, it’s business as usual. Maybe Abbott wasn’t that big of a deal after all?

Despite the fact that Hackney continues to reassure nervous partners and potential customers that Avaya’s growth is on track and that Abbott’s plans to roll out new communications technology that integrates the company’s Nortel assets are still going forward, it’s clear that he has his hands full.

But in my mind, if Hackney can sell Avaya products with the same confidence we’ve seen over the past two weeks, they will clearly have no problem selling their telecom solutions.

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Anthony October 26, 2010 at 7:06 am

Picking up after Abbott is easy pickings. He sucked as a salesperson, sales manager, VP of sales and SVP of sales. I am positive Avaya is in better hands because Todd was truly a terrible leader. Now all Joel needs to do is clean up the Todd gang and get rid of people like LaRocca, Butt, Solito, the wacko Englishman Ian Roche (how does one manage Finance from the UK), McCullough, and others. Clean up these dopes and you’ll be better off.

NYC August 23, 2011 at 8:12 am

Wow Anthony, maybe if you had a better attitude you would be where they are today. But your not, so you resort to spending your free time bashing other people. Do us all a favor and keep your comments to yourself because no matter how much you complain, its still not going to change a thing.

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