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Solution providers are shocked that Julie Parrish is leaving Symantec, and say she’s leaving big shoes to fill in the global channel chief office.

In an internal memo obtained by Channel Insider, Symantec Chief Operating Officer Enrique Salem announced Parrish would leave Symantec at the end of October. Symantec confirmed that Parrish was leaving to "pursue other career opportunities," but did not comment further.

Sources say Parrish is assuming the global channel chief position at NetApp, which was vacated in summer of 2008 by Leonard Iventosch. Parrish has been unavailable for comment. NetApp declined comment and wouldn’t confirm Parrish’s appointment, saying in a statement, "Pat Linehan, SVP of Worldwide Sales, and Eric Mann, SVP of Americas Sales, are jointly heading our channel efforts while NetApp actively pursues another strong channel leader."

Jonathan Dambrot, managing director at Prevalent Networks, a Symantec platinum partner and a member of Symantec’s regional advisory council, says Parrish’s departure is certainly a loss for the security and storage software vendor. However, the impact on his daily business will likely be minimal, he says.

"I don’t deal with her on a day-to-day basis, so in the short term there’s no change in my business’ focus; no change in how I go to market, the products and services I sell—this doesn’t change our operation today," Dambrot says.

Dambrot adds that the news has heightened his anticipation for the Partner Engage conference Oct. 15 to 17, and that he’ll be listening intently to hear how Symantec addresses the long-term implications of the vacancy.  

"Partner Engage is next week, and then we get to hear from the leadership at Symantec whether or not things will change. I’ll definitely be listening to find out how Symantec can help to build my business given this new reality," he says.

One reason partners aren’t more worried is the strong channel team Parrish put together, says Matt Scherocman, vice president of consulting services company PCMS IT Advisor Group, a Cincinnati-based Symantec partner. While Symantec has gone through a lot of growth and change, Parrish and other executives like Salem and vice president of channel sales Randy Cochran are strong, consistent leaders.