Is It Raining on ShoreTel’s Cloud Strategy: The Exodus Continues

ShoreTel Executive Exodus

Following news November 22 that Keith Nealon has resigned as president and general manager of ShoreTel’s Cloud Division, I have to wonder if the storm clouds are continuing to gather for ShoreTel. Nealon’s departure is just the latest in a series of senior staff resignations – there’s a virtual parade of departing ShoreTel executives (see our earlier blog entitled The ShoreTel Executive Exodus: What Do You Think?). 

Nealon was still new to ShoreTel, having joined the company as part of the M5 Networks acquisition in March 2012, and assumed the role as President and GM of the Cloud Division in January of 2013. So what’s going on with the Cloud Division? According to the 8K filing, Nealon won’t be replaced, presumably because the operational integration of M5 Networks has been completed, and ”the company remains on track to launch the 400 series IP phones for ShoreTel Sky.” 

But then, like many executives before him, Nealon left the company, not the other way around. So even if work on the ShoreTel cloud strategy is progressing as planned, why not stick around and reap the benefits? 

The ShoreTel executive exodus could be interpreted as “business as usual” in a volatile industry where change is the norm. Or it could be interpreted as the smarter members of leadership deserting a sinking ship. Nealon ran his own start-up before joining M5 and then ShoreTel, so he has senior management experience. I wonder if he read something in the ShoreTel runes that prompted him to jump ship.

Hard-wired Thinking

ShoreTel has been a hardware supplier since day one, and now they are touting the pending launch of a hybrid product in March to integrate on-premise and cloud telecommunications, a solution that TeleDynamic Communications already has in the marketplace. Perhaps Nealon couldn’t find the right niche for his cloud expertise in a company dominated by hard-wired thinking. The launch of ShoreTel’s new hybrid cloud solution should prove revealing in any case. 

So what do you think? Is this another sign the good ship ShoreTel is taking on water, or are they merely lightening the load to make it easier to take on a new cloud strategy? Any readers out there with a finger on the pulse? Comments are welcome.

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