"What do you have against Orlando Ayala?" a reseller wrote.
"Nothing," I responded. "It's just that he entered the scene so visibly and then, disappeared."
And this week, the story of Orlando Ayala, the chief operating officer of Microsoft Business Solutions as part of the accounting software reselling scene, was officially brought to an end after three years when he accepted a new assignment to help develop markets in places like inner cities and third-world countries as Senior Vice President, Emerging Segments Market Development Group.
Ayala's other role, as head of the Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners Group, also came to an end. The latter organization, SMS&P, which had been placed under MBS president Doug Burgum, was transferred to the sales organization of Kevin Johnson.
It's hard to tell what happened. Ayala burst onto the scene in 2003 with keynotes at the Worldwide Partner Reseller conference, and again in 2004, and a keynote at the Convergence user conference in 2004. Many believed he would take over the organization from Burgum. Then, he vanished.
I interviewed him once--at Convergence 2005--where he flew in, gave a handful of interviews and left. He was pleasant, knowledgeable. Resellers told me that behind the scenes, he was extremely active.
Yet, he was invisible. After 2004, there were no more keynotes, no more interviews. An interview was scheduled for a few weeks ago when he was to visit New York. It was cancelled when the trip was cancelled a few days later.
Other executives rarely mentioned him, even after the division posted its first, and so far only, profit. The COO should have had a hand in that, but he wasn't mentioned when it happened. The most praise came yesterday as Burgum announced the move, and then said that Orlando's direct reports will now report to Burgum. His role in SMS&P is being taken over by Eduardo Rosini.
So the chapter ends, one of those corporate puzzles that we will probably not solve without someone providing an inside view. We'll sit and wonder if there was a personality conflict with another executive, some kind of mistake for which Ayala paid the price, or if he didn't want to be visible?
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