Fonality Names New CEO. Where's Chris Lyman in All This?

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Fonality Names New CEO. Where's Chris Lyman in All This?

Interesting news. Fonality today announced that it has appointed Dean Mansfield to serve as the company's chief executive officer. Mansfield succeeds Chris Lyman, the company's founding CEO. Lyman will remain as chairman of the board.

I'm not really sure how to take this news. Chris Lyman has been leading the charge for Fonality for years and has had a huge impact on their success. So why the change? Slowing sales? More competition from other Asterisk players cutting into their revenues? Or is Chris wanting to spend more time away from the day-to-day chores a CEO must contend with. Or perhaps Chris who had lead other startups from the ground up wants a new startup challenge? Even more fascinating is that although Lyman will "remain chairman of the board", he's not listed on the management team web page on Fonality's website - and it was obviously just updated since it now lists Dean Mansfield as the new CEO. Very interesting... Hope my Halloween VoIP post didn't have anything to do with this.

I have an email out to Chris to find out more about this move. Will update this post if I find out more.

Update: From Chris Lyman
In short, what I bring to a company is product and tech leadership -- think HUD. That's what I love to do: innovate, build exciting software, and prove a market.

After spending all of 2007 on trixbox Pro and then all of 2009 moving Fonality fully into the cloud with UNBOUND, I felt my time here was done. I was tired and I told this to the board.

See, fonality has *all* the products it could ever need ranging from PBXtra to trixbox Pro to UNBOUND to HUD, heck we even have a killer CRM product and open source trixbox CE. For a company our size we are in killer shape on the product front.

Now we need to grow (did you see our awesome Q4 results BTW?) This requires a hard charging sales-based exec...and I felt that I didn't have the energy or interest after six years to lead a massive sales movement inside of fonality.

With dean's sales experience at cloud-based netsuite (great product, btw, been a customer for 3 years) I felt we had a great match of our needs and his skills.
No BS or spin, that's the real story. It was an amicable self-initiated replacement that, as Chairman, I am pretty excited to see unfold. I expect great things from Dean and Fonality.

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Tom -- you are fast...I see you already updated your blog with our recent email.

I guess my comments to you said most of it. This was not a change made by force (the change was initiated by me). This was not a change made because of lagging sales -- we are actually in a huge growth spurt right now. In fact, we just booked our best month and quarter in our six year history. Heck, we are even putting money in the mean feat for a tech company during a recession.

It comes down to needs and timing. As you know, during my tenure at Fonality, I helped to build a dominant product suite ranging from fully cloud, to hybrid-cloud, and even acquired trixbox CE for a fully prem solution. Along the way, we built HUD -- the only time you hear "sexy software" and "telecom" in the same breath. :)

Our future is quite bright and, after six years of my sweat, what Fonality needs for this next phase is an energized sales-oriented exec willing to work the 80 hour week it takes to win. That's Dean Mansfield for you. He is an animal. :)

Keep rockin' that blog of yours.

Chris Lyman
Fonality Chairman, Founder, Former CEO and Janitor...but now just a Janitor :)

I think Chris is lying.

I bet he has actually departed Fonality to pursue his dream as an MMA fighter. :)

He needs to go back, and FAST!

The engineering and technical support are now arrogant and non-client related. They care more about their code and features rather than client functionality which is totally new to a once incredible organization.

Add to that, the unbound service needs serious help (ACD's dont' work properly and Caller ID shows incorrect info) If he only knew he would find the energy to kick some fonality engineers butt rather than MMA0 butt. His legacy is spiraling around the drain currently...

I thought this was funny

Chris Lyman
Fonality Chairman, Founder, Former CEO and Janitor...but now just a Janitorsmile

Any idea on what is happening with their support? I was on hold yesterday for 29 minutes before hanging up and this morning could not get through at all. We are having ongong difficulty with support and it is disturbingly worriesome. They claim they are growing so fast they are having trouble supporting their current customers but are growing their support org as quick as possible (we are not a small customer of theirs). Would love to talk with the new CEO...

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