Avigilon EVP Out, Schmode Consolidates PowerBy: John Honovich, Published on Mar 06, 2014
[link no longer available]Avigilon's EVP Operations, Chris Ross [link no longer available], a former executive at Ericcson, Qualcom and Novatel Wireless, has 'resigned'.
In this note, we look at what is happening and the benefits / risks in this move.
Schmode - Love 'em or Hate 'em
Bryan Schmode has been critical to Avigilon's success, rising from an individual sales contributor at Avigilon in 2007, moving up repeatedly [link no longer available].
Many praise him. As even Avigilon's rivals noted in our survey results:
"One common theme was about Avigilon's "Take no prisoners approach to sales" with many rivals acknowledging strengths in their sales style. 'Their key Sales/Marketing person is a great grand master in Chess/Sales and it shows. A no hold barred fighting match. Winner take all.' Another manufacturer noted, 'Brian Schmode is killing it!!'"
In an industry where most are too afraid to offend or be aggressive, Schmode has stood out. Revenue numbers speak to it as well. The company has been able to keep growth at levels essentially unprecedented for the surveillance industry for the size of company they have become.
On the other hand, there are many who simply hate him, questioning his ethics and business tactics. From speaking with former colleagues both at Avigilon and at other companies Schmode worked at, the level of anger and distrust was extremely high, with many claiming that they have been screwed over by him.
The most famous anecdote, confirmed by numerous people independently, is that Schmode had a bodyguard accompany him at a trade show a few years ago, with the understanding that he needed it for his own protection, against people he had burned.
It could be that people are upset or jealous of his success or ambition. We do not have direct experience with him to support or contradict these claims.
However, Avigilon's ethical 'agnosticism' is well known in the industry.
Taking Over Operations?
A key factor in any sales executive taking over operations is the ability to manage the 'other' side of the business, especially engineering, technology and manufacturing issues that takes different skill sets, experiences and temperament.
Will he be able to adapt to this new far broader role?
Undoubtedly, given the success he has generated in sales, he deserves the opportunity. Now, it will be interesting to see how he delivers on it.