Paul Hennessy served as director, media and professional, for Sony UK and Ireland, before joining Avid; he now assumes the title of vice president of sales/EMEA and will be based at Avid's European HQ at Pinewood, Herefordshire. "I've watched the company over the past several years," Hennessey says, "and [am] excited to work with such a great group of customers and innovative products." Hennessey takes over from Patrick Jocelyn, who joined Avid from Auto-desk in September 2008.
Regarding his immediate plans, Hennessy "wants to take a look across all of our market segments and get a clearer picture of where the biggest opportunity for Avid is outside of our existing customer base. Our solutions serve customers from the enthusiast level all the way up to the enterprise, and each of those customer subsets have different wants and needs. If they are not an Avid customer today, we need to understand why that is the case, and how we can better work with them to solve their business problems - however big or small they may be."
Does he envisage any short- or medium-term changes to the distribution of Avid products within EMEA? For example, are any territories under-served? "As a company, Avid is constantly evaluating its distribution channel and looking at ways we can improve the current structure or process," Hennessey considers. "There are a number of emerging markets across EMEA - like Dubai, Russia and India - and we continue to look at ways to increase our presence in these areas. They are ripe areas of growth for the media industry, and Avid wants to be a part of that."
Will the reorganisations we are seeing within North America continue throughout EMEA? For example, establishing various divisions for Avid's pro-audio and project-studio product lines, while eliminating the Digidesign name from its DAW and console products? "Although the company is headquartered in North America, what we are doing in Europe is in line with what the company is doing as a whole. There are no 'divisions' amongst the company today. Instead, we have an internal way of segmenting our various customer groups, depending on which solutions they are apt to be interested in. Over time, the marketplace will continue to see more solutions rolled out under the Avid brand, as opposed to Digidesign or Sibelius, etc."
What does this new executive bring to the party for Avid that hasn't been available before? "My experience in working across a wide portfolio of products - all under a single brand - will be valuable to this role," Hennessy reflects. "Additionally, I have a long history in working with both broadcasters and IT customers; those two areas are starting to become much more intertwined. Customers are increasingly looking for ways to integrate their IT solutions into their media workflows - to unlock new sources of revenue.
"I understand that our customers need for us to do more than 'sell' them a product; they want to feel like we understand their business and can offer solutions to any of the problems they are having today. And help them to anticipate what they may need to invest in for the future. I also have a keen understanding of the retail space, which is another big part of Avid's business and I look forward to working [with] our channel partners in Europe to develop strong programs to raise the market awareness of our key retail products."
In terms of emergent technologies that will impact the European industry within the coming 2-5 years, Avid's new VP of sales predicts a number of trends within the marketplace, including the convergence of audio and video. "For instance, many of our customers in the 'live sound' space are increasingly looking to make video a part of their workflows," he offers. "We understand how to make these elements work together efficiently, and we are having a number of interesting conversations with customers to help them define workflows to support this work."