Emerging markets goal for Symantec Middle East chief

Company has re-jigged its senior management team in the region after promoting Kevin Isaac to VP for emerging markets

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  May 11, 2009

Security software vendor Symantec has re-jigged its senior management team in the region after recently promoting Kevin Isaac to VP for emerging markets, a role that hands him responsibility for the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, Russia, the Balkans and South East Europe.

His elevation to the emerging markets hotseat has led to Johnny Karam taking over as country director for the Middle East. Karam, who previously served as Symantec’s regional enterprise sales manager, reports into Isaac.

With the mature economies appearing to be more vulnerable to the global financial downturn, an increasing number of vendors are turning their attention to emerging markets in an effort to find growth.

Isaac insists the vendor already has an established presence in many of the developing markets in this part of the world and is now looking to extend that further.

“In the last few years Symantec has made a tremendous investment in emerging markets, but we are certainly continuing that and the fact we have got so many emerging management [personnel] physically in-country and focused on the region is a good sign for the market,” explained Isaac.

“The opportunity that I see is looking at the secondary emerging markets where I think there is enormous potential to bring a lot more commonality in terms of purpose and alignment. We have just opened an office in Cairo and Kazakhstan and we are putting offices into other countries,” he said.

Despite the additional responsibility and territories that now fall under his remit, Isaac claims he will continue to dedicate a decent chunk of his time to partner dialogue.

“The message to partners is that they are very important to us,” said Isaac. “We want to make sure that we have the right number of partners for the partners who invest to derive value within their markets. I think the days of having too many partners doing all the same thing are over. We have got to have specialisation and partners who invest, and we have got to support those partners to ensure they derive more value from the relationship with Symantec.”

Isaac takes over the VP emerging markets role from Andrew Douglas, who is now running the vendor’s newly-created SMB unit across the EMEA region. Douglas is part of a broader EMEA management team that includes Simon Moor, his equivalent for the enterprise business, and channel chief Jason Ellis who heads the commercial business.

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