Novell Channel Chief John Dragoon, who also served as Chief Marketing Officer, has left the company following Novell's sale to Attachmate, which was completed earlier today. Dragoon disclosed his departure in a blog post. However, a Novell spokesman says channel partners are "valued just as much tomorrow as yesterday." Here's the update.

According to a blog entry from Dragoon:
"After nearly 2,740 days at this great company, it’s time to say goodbye ... Novell has had many chapters in its 28-year history and today marks the start of a new, exciting chapter. Change brings new opportunities, new adventures, and new teammates. As Novell joins forces with The Attachmate Group, the result will be a powerful portfolio of companies united by a common purpose and dedicated team. I’m confident existing Novell and SUSE customers will continue to enjoy the great relationships and products that they’ve come to expect from Novell.  I’m also confident that the spirit, attitude and optimism that are the hallmark of every Novell employee will continue on. It’s been a privilege to be part of Novell’s history.  To our customers, partners and employees – a sincere “Thank you.” John"
It's a safe -- though not confirmed -- bet that additional Novell executives have left the company now that the sale to Attachmate is official. In multiple SEC filings earlier this year, Novell provide clues about executive incentives and potential departure compensation plans.

Attachmate and Novell are expected to spend the next week or two organizing official messaging before answering media questions about Novell's channel partner strategy. However, Attachmate and Novell have worked hard to affirm their channel partner commitments ever since Attachmate announced plans to acquire Novell in November 2010. The deal underwent an extensive regulatory review process because Novell also sold certain intellectual property assets to a group of technology companies.

Goodbye (for Now)

Meanwhile, Dragoon's contributions to Novell will be missed. Admittedly, Novell was never a growth company during Dragoon's tenure as chief marketing officer and channel chief. And the company certainly struggled to transition from legacy businesses to emerging opportunities. But Dragoon restored Novell's channel credibility with many VARs and MSPs in recent years.

Some chapters in the history lesson are well documented. Sure, Novell fell from grace with many partners as NetWare imploded in the 1990s and Novell purchased Cambridge Technology Partners -- a consulting firm -- in 2001. But gradually in recent years, Dragoon helped Novell to promote new brands to channel partners -- from SUSE Linux and SUSE Studio to the more recent Novell Workload IQ and Novell Cloud Security Service strategies.

Admittedly, rivals like Red Hat have expanded far more quickly than Novell. And some identity management rivals had stronger brands. But Dragoon was a steadying voice to the media and to channel partners. Sure, The VAR Guy and Dragoon had heated discussions from time to time. Some of the debates focused on Novell's decision not to acquire open source ISVs. But Dragoon always steered the conversation back to workload management and data center management. Dragoon also played a key role in re-launching Novell's popular BrainShare conference in 2010, following a hiatus during the U.S. recession and global financial crisis.

The VAR Guy will be watching closely over the next few weeks to see who at Attachmate-Novell steps up to fill Dragoon's shoes.

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