Lexmark Channel Without a Leader

By Lawrence Walsh  |  Print this article Print


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Channel chief Sharon Brindley among layoffs executed by the printer vendor Friday. Sources say no replacement has been named.

Lexmark, the third largest printer vendor, is without a channel chief following Friday’s layoff of Sharon Brindley.

As many as 50 sales and marketing people lost their jobs as a result of a corporate restructuring, according to Kentucky local press reports. Among them were several inside channel sales and support people, including Brindley.

"[We] believe that we do have the products for the marketplace and we believe with this restructuring, we are in line with the market and will be successful," Lexmark spokesperson Kathy Hillyard told Kentucky.com.

Attempts to reach Lexmark for comment and confirmation of Brindley’s dismissal were not returned. Sources say that not only is Brindley being removed, but Lexmark has not named a new head of U.S. channels and OEM relationships. Scattered details of the restructuring are surfacing on several social networks, such as LinkedIn and Facebook.

If proven correct, Lexmark’s channel program is essentially operating without anyone at the rudder. John Linton is no longer head of solution provider channels, having accepted another position within Lexmark last month. There’s no word whether Ken Kerkhoff, who was Linton’s interim replacement, has been affected by the restructuring.

There are also indications that as much as half of the distribution support team has also been eliminated as a result of the restructuring.

Sources say Lexmark took steps several months ago to eliminate much of its channel inside sales and technical support team. Those functions were outsourced to a company in Cebu, Philippines.

Brindley took over Lexmark’s U.S. channels and alliances in 2006. She’s been cited as one of the channel’s most influential executives by trade publications. While credited as an effective and capable channel leader, her tenure was marked by a consistent decline in Lexmark’s market position and channel ratings. 

Attempts to reach Brindley for comment were unsuccessful.

Hampering Lexmark’s performance was been its deep ties to Dell, which white labels many Lexmark printer products and underlying technologies. At one point, as much as 10 percent of Lexmark’s total revenues came from Dell sales. The company has also faced stiff direct and channel competition from market leaders Hewlett-Packard and Xerox.

A sluggish Dell relationship and declines in laser and inkjet printer sales resulted in a 10 percent fall in 2007 revenue, analysts say.

Lawrence Walsh Lawrence Walsh is editor of Baseline magazine, overseeing print and online editorial content and the strategic direction of the publication. He is also a regular columnist for Ziff Davis Enterprise's Channel Insider. Mr. Walsh is well versed in IT technology and issues, and he is an expert in IT security technologies and policies, managed services, business intelligence software and IT reseller channels. An award-winning journalist, Mr. Walsh has served as editor of CMP Technology's VARBusiness and GovernmentVAR magazines, and TechTarget's Information Security magazine. He has written hundreds of articles, analyses and commentaries on the development of reseller businesses, the IT marketplace and managed services, as well as information security policy, strategy and technology. Prior to his magazine career, Mr. Walsh was a newspaper editor and reporter, having held editorial positions at the Boston Globe, MetroWest Daily News, Brockton Enterprise and Community Newspaper Company.

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