ShoreTel Names Ex-HP, Unisys Exec Blackmore as CEO

Peter Blackmore, who has served as an executive with both HP and Unisys before working as president and CEO of UTStarcom, will now be ShoreTel's CEO.

ShoreTel has named former Hewlett-Packard and Unisys executive Peter Blackmore as its new CEO.

The appointment of Blackmore, announced Dec. 13 by the UC (unified communications) solutions vendor, ends a five-month search for a new top executive that began in July when then-CEO John Combs stepped down as part of a planned transition. Don Girskis, who served as interim CEO since Combs' resignation, will now return to his post as senior vice president of worldwide sales, according to ShoreTel.

A longtime tech industry veteran, Blackmore most recently was president, CEO and board member of UTStarcom, which makes IP (Internet protocol)-based network solutions.

"Peter brings a wealth of hardware, software, services and channel expertise to ShoreTel," Gary Daichendt, ShoreTel board chairman, said in a statement. "His track record of successfully scaling technology organizations worldwide makes him the right leader to accelerate ShoreTel's growth."

ShoreTel is looking to grow its offerings in the highly competitive UC market. ShoreTel offers UC capabilities with its line of IP business phones, including voice, video data and mobile communications. According to officials, ShoreTel's open and distributed IP architecture makes its offerings less expensive than those of larger rivals like Cisco Systems and Avaya. Cisco, Avaya, Microsoft and others are making inroads in the market, and that can be seen by the growth in the space.

Market research firm Dell'Oro Group said in November that revenue in the UC space grew 7 percent in the third quarter over the same period in 2009, and said the efforts vendors are making are a key driver.

"Despite pockets of weakness reappearing, we believe that the unified communications market will expand significantly in 2010, as existing vendors continue to invest and expand their software offerings and Microsoft begins to actively push Lync," Alan Weckel, director at Dell'Oro, said at the time.

Forrester Research is predicting that the overall UC market will expand to $14.5 billion by 2015.

ShoreTel made a push of its own in October, when officials announced plans to buy Agito Networks for $11.4 million to expand its UC portfolio-particularly in the mobile space, where Agito's products help businesses extend their UC capabilities and voice onto smartphones-and grow its customer base of larger enterprises.

Growth also is part of Blackmore's agenda.

"ShoreTel has a solid reputation for industry-leading solutions and world-class customer satisfaction, and I am thrilled to be joining the company," he said in a statement. "I look forward to working with the entire ShoreTel team to help the company continue to accelerate its growth and achieve its tremendous potential."

Blackmore was an executive at Compaq before it was bought by HP in 2002. At HP, Blackmore was executive vice president of the company's Enterprise Systems Group and then its Customer Solutions Group. Afterward, he was executive vice president in charge of worldwide sales, marketing and technology at Unisys before moving to UTStarcom.