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Cody Leser tells Channel Insider he’s ready to put the pedal to the metal as he takes over as senior director of North America channel sales. His immediate plans: expand the security software vendor’s channel to go head-to-head with the competition – namely McAfee and Symantec.


As the company’s new channel chief, Leser is responsible for sustaining, advancing and executing Trend Micro’s channel sales strategy. He assumes the post vacated in September Nancy Reynolds, who left the company after five years of service to head up global channel sales at Palo Alto Networks.


Leser says that under Reynolds’s guidance, Trend Micro built a strong channel led by a solid partner team, and that he’ll continue to emphasize the company’s commitment to solution providers.


“We already have a pretty shiny car, so to speak, and what we’re looking to do is just detail it further. Put the polish on and take it from great to brilliant,” Leser says.


He adds that Trend Micro is mindful of the economic woes partners face, and that the vendor will continue to invest in expanding its solution provider base to drive revenue.


“We’re very mindful of the economic times, and we need to reach out to understand, from a manufacturer standpoint, how we can help ensure our partners are successful in the long term,” Leser says.


Expanding Trend Micro’s channel will also position the company to better compete against its two main market rivals, Symantec and MacAfee. Leser says listening closely to the needs of solution providers across various market segments and industries will help to “strengthen our channel in the face of competitors who we feel are diminishing their channel’s importance,” he says.


Over the past two years, Trend Micro has made significant inroads in the security channel, capitalizing on gaffs made by Symantec. While McAfee has maintained a large channel business, some have grumbled that it wasn’t consistent which helped rivals capture some of its business. McAfee recently lured channel veteran Lisa Loe away from Symantec to head its channels—a sign to many that McAfee will soon amp up its reseller efforts.


Expanding Trend Micro’s channel presence will help open a bigger chasm between Trend Micro and its competition, he says, though he did not name specific programs or disclose whether Trend Micro was actively recruiting new solution providers. 


Leser previously was director of North American distribution channels at Trend Micro rival McAfee, and before that ran his own business consulting firm. He has also been vice president of U.S. sales and operations at Novell.


Leser will report directly to Darren Blank, who is Trend Micro’s vice president of North America sales and marketing.