Security vendor McAfee put a channel veteran at the top of its sales organization, it announced Oct. 2, hoping to accelerate the firm’s sales and marketing game as the company approaches the 100 percent channel mark.

Roger J. King took the post as executive vice president of worldwide sales, overseeing both sales and channel development, to put channel spin on everything the company does in its sales and marketing decisions, said Kevin Weiss, president of the Santa Clara, Calif., company.

King was previously president of Software Spectrum, a division of Level 3 Communications, where he wore several sales and marketing hats in his 16-year tenure.

“It’s a shift from the traditional cloth of a sales executives, but rich in that channel tradition,” Weiss said.

“There is still a lot more that we can do in the channel. Can we make a major change in McAfee’s business through an executive who has lived in that channel and one that was almost three times the size [of McAfee]. He’s someone completely different from me. I expect we would only be better because of his experience.”

Weiss said he expects King would be able to leverage his experience to infuse new ideas into the McAfee’s brain trust and implement new go-to-market strategies that would make better use of the channel than a sales executive with a traditional direct-only pedigree.

The decision to appoint a channel executive to the post was not original intention, Weiss said, but came to be seen as a good idea as the search team explored traditional sales candidates.

McAfee has moved, in three years, from a company with 60 percent of its revenue from channel sales to more than 99 percent of revenue.

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Fewer than 20 accounts now insist on dealing directly with the vendor, and even in those accounts, partners are typically involved and compensated, Weiss said.

King’s experience as an executive with Level 3, which did $3 billion in revenue in 2005, made him an attractive candidate for McAfee, which did slightly more than $1 billion in revenue.

McAfee might benefit further from King’s experience at Level 3, a telecommunications software maker, as McAfee makes intimations toward distributing security in a fashion similar to telecommunication service, Weiss said.