Iconic channel chief and longtime leader of the Symantec partner program Julie Parrish is leaving the security and storage vendor at the end of the month to pursue new career opportunities.

Reports of Parrish joining NetApp are unconfirmed. But sources say that she’ll be taking the position vacated by Leonard Iventosch last summer. NetApp released a statement Friday stating that it continues to search for an executive to fill the global channel chief post.

Parrish, who has served as Symantec’s global channel chief for the last three years, wasn’t expected to announce her resignation until after Symantec’s Partner Engage conference next week. Word of her pending departure leaked after Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem distributed an internal memo to the channel management team.

“As you have heard by now, Julie Parrish today announced that she will be leaving Symantec at the end of the month based on her personal career aspirations. Julie has been with Symantec for six years and has made a great impact on the organization. She will be missed and we all wish her all the best in the next phase of her career,” Salem wrote in the memo.

Symantec confirmed the authenticity of the Salem memo and that Parrish would be departing Symantec October 31. The channel team was informed of Parrish’s pending departure yesterday.

A 23-year channel veteran, Parrish is one of the most visible and respected leaders in the vendor and partner community.  She took over the global channel strategic management role in 2005 following the departure of Allyson Seelinger. Prior to joining Symantec in 2002, Parrish served as vice president of Americas field and channel marketing at Veritas, a company that Symantec would buy in 2004. She played an instrumental role in bringing the two organizations together and integrating their respective storage and security channels.

While respected and well-liked, Parrish has also been a lightning rod for gaffes in Symantec’s product and channel management. Over the past two years, she’s weathered repeated storms ranging from complaints over poor-performing enterprise anti-virus software to the massively botched ERP upgrade that derailed Symantec partners’ ordering and revenues. 

Parrish was instrumental in addressing and resolving the ERP system and led a yearlong effort, which included fixing the technical and design implementations of the ordering system and re-engaging with partners on their sales support needs. During this period, Parrish instituted the Partner Experience initiative that focused on solution providers’ interaction with the company and customers. The result of the program was an eightfold increase in partner satisfaction. 

Many solution providers expected to see Parrish at the Partner Engage conference next week in Washington, D.C., but she is not on the agenda and, according to sources, not expected to attend.

According to the Salem memo, Parrish will remain with Symantec through Oct. 31. No plans for a successor have been made, but Salem expressed confidence in the global channel management team’s ability to carry on uninterrupted.

“Symantec continues to be a channel-led company and we are committed to our partners. Julie’s departure will not impact or change this strategy. Our focus is to continue to develop programs to drive profitability for our partners and, importantly, improve their experiences with us,” Salem wrote.