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Polycom to Get New CEO After Siris Deal Closes

Mary McDowell, a Siris executive partner and tech industry veteran, will take over from Peter Leav once the $2 billion acquisition is completed.


Polycom not only will get a new owner within the next few weeks, but also a new CEO.

Mary McDowell, an executive partner with private equity firm Siris Capital, will replace Peter Leav as CEO once Siris' $2 billion acquisition of Polycom is completed, which should happen later this month or in October. Polycom and Siris made the announcement Sept. 7, a day after they said that Polycom shareholders on Sept. 2 had voted in favor of the deal.

Leav, who has been Polycom's CEO since 2013, will stay in the position until the deal closes. The companies said he will leave Polycom "to pursue other opportunities."

McDowell has been with Siris since March, and has a long history in the tech business. She spent eight years with Nokia in varied positions, including executive vice president, general manager of mobile phones and chief development officer. Earlier in her career, she was with Compaq for 17 years, the last four as senior vice president and general manager of the company's industry standard server business. When Compaq was bought by Hewlett-Packard for $25 billion in 2001, she spent a year in the same post for HP.

In a statement, McDowell said, "Polycom is a powerful global brand and is strongly positioned to help organizations of all sizes raise the bar on collaboration to drive higher levels of productivity and deepen employee engagement."

Siris' acquisition is part of a larger trend in the enterprise collaboration space of acquisitions and strategy changes as organizations look for more cloud- and software-based solutions from vendors. Polycom earlier this year was on the verge of being bought by unified communications company Mitel, a plan first put forth by private equity firm Elliott Management, which bought significant stakes in each company in October 2015.

Mitel had proposed a $1.96 billion acquisition of Polycom, a deal that had gotten the backing of both companies' board of directors. However, Siris came in with its $2 billion offer, and Mitel withdrew its bid in July.