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Avaya, Taking Aim At UC Rivals, Hires Former Mitel Cloud Leader As Channel Chief

Avaya, which has been on a mission to shift from its premise-based UC roots to cloud-based solutions, has brought on former Mitel cloud leader Jon Brinton as its new channel chief.

Unified communications giant Avaya has a new channel chief at the helm: telecom veteran Jon Brinton, who served most recently as UC competitor Mitel's cloud leader.

 Brinton has been appointed to vice president of North American channel sales for Avaya. The executive is now responsible for Avaya’s channel sales strategy and supporting and educating the company's extensive network of partners, distributors and resellers on cloud opportunities, Avaya said.

Brinton is filling the spot that Avaya's former channel chief, Gary Levy, left in March when he joined Oracle as vice president of worldwide enterprise alliances and channels.

[Related: Avaya and RingCentral Seal Cloud Alliance Through $500 Million Deal]

Reports surfaced in April that UCaaS leader Mitel was looking to buy Avaya in a merger valued between $2.2 billion and $2.4 billion. The deal, which was thought to help the two companies compete against their larger UC competitors, including Cisco Systems and Microsoft, never panned out. Avaya was also reportedly considering a leveraged buyout from a private equity firm that would have valued the company at more than $5 billion in March.

Brinton most recently served as President of Mitel's cloud division and saw the business segment from its inception through expansion to a global market share leader in the UCaaS space over the past 11 years, according to Santa Clara, Calif.-based Avaya. Brinton has also held senior leadership roles with companies in the networking and telecommunications industry.

Since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2017, Avaya has been focused on shifting its business to a cloud-based business model. The company said that Brinton's appointment signals Avaya's transformation as the partner-of-choice for communications solutions for SMBs and enterprises with an emphasis on cloud and new subscription models.

Avaya in October formed a cloud alliance with UC rival RingCentral, bringing to the table Avaya Cloud Office by RingCentral. Via the terms of the deal, RingCentral said it would purchase $125 million in Avaya stock for a 6 percent equity position in the company, while also advancing Avaya $375 million for future payments and licensing rights.

“I am pleased to be joining Avaya at such an important time, as the company works to reshape a customer-driven approach to delivering innovation in its communications and collaboration solutions,” Brinton said in a statement. “I am also excited about the opportunity to build the partner infrastructure to help drive the success of the new Avaya Cloud Office UCaaS offer resulting from the recent partnership with RingCentral."

Avaya does about 80 percent of its business through the channel today.

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