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Ethernet veteran McHugh joins Brocade

John McHugh, a longtime HP ProCurve marketing executive, has been named by Brocade as its chief marketing officer. McHugh will be responsible for the company’s global marketing and strategic alliance strategies, and will report to CEO Michael Klayko.

McHugh has spent almost 30 years in the networking industry, 26 of them with HP. At HP, McHugh had been vice president and worldwide general manager of HP ProCurve, helping to build it from a start-up to a $1 billion-plus business.

More recently, McHugh was vice president and general manager of Nortel’s Enterprise Network Solutions business unit, where he was responsible for the technology vision, R&D and business operations. Within a year after McHugh landed at Nortel, the company sold the Enterprise Solutions group to Avaya as part of a companywide asset divestiture after failing to restructure under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Prior to Nortel, McHugh was with SilverLake Partners where he worked on M&A activity, and technology and company evaluations.

Mc Hugh will have his work cut out for him at Brocade. The storage networking company is currently struggling in Ethernet switching after acquiring Foundry Networks for almost $3 billion in 2008.

Brocade missed revenue targets in its first quarter of fiscal 2010 due to a misaligned strategy, according to CEO Klayko and investment analysts. Brocade is currently reformulating its Ethernet/IP go-to-market strategy in an effort to rebound that business.

And though well-positioned in FibreChannel SAN switching with close to 70% market share, Brocade is attempting to compete in a data center market moving to converged Ethernet/FibreChannel switching fabrics and coveted by bigger and aggressive competitors like Cisco, IBM and HP. IBM is an OEM reseller of Brocade’s Foundry switches but also has a similar, albeit deeper, relationship with Juniper.

McHugh prefers to look at these challenges as opportunities – though perhaps taking longer to materialize.

“[Foundry] was vastly underutilized because of its focus and specificity,” McHugh says. “What you’re seeing from Brocade is a recognition of what a long investment path this is. This is a much more [relationship-driven], long sales cycle process. Brocade has those deep strategic relationships with customers; how do you take those and translate those into a broader offering and integrate the Foundry capability as part of that larger value proposition?”

“That’s a really important element: that we send a strong, unambiguous statement about our credibility and commitment to that part of the mission.”

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