Unified Communications Featured Article

McGugan Comes Back to Avaya

May 01, 2018

Chris McGugan is back with Avaya Holdings Corp. But this time around his title is chief technology strategist.

McGugan has a quarter century of experience in the communications industry. That included time as Avaya’s vice president of emerging products and technology and of contact center solutions and marketing.

He’s most recently been an operations executive with a major retailer. While there, he built out cloud and IoT operations to support strategic initiatives. McGugan also has been in executive and management positions at Belkin, Cisco, and Motorola/Symbol Technologies. And he’s served on various board advisory positions at technology companies.

“Companies are just now beginning to understand how strategic communications technologies can benefit their business,” said McGugan. “As we build our next-generation portfolio, it will be grounded in customer business cases, and combined with our deep communications expertise along with a path to modernization that leverages cloud and IoT, to take businesses to the next level of innovation.”

Avaya late last year emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, about a year after its filing. As we reported around that time, analysts generally consider Avaya’s cloud communications portfolio to be solid. The company is profitable. And most sources indicate the company has strong leadership.

Yet Avaya was struggling under a heavy debt load. The company had $400 million to $600 million in interest payments annually. It had $6 billion in debt and $1.7 billion in unfunded pension liabilities. As a result, it had to generate $900 million of EBITDA just to cover its debt payments, pension payments, and other costs. And its revenues were decreasing.

The company sold its networking business to Extreme Networks Inc. for about $100 million. That, Avaya said, would enable it to focus on its core unified communications and contact center solutions.

Edited by Maurice Nagle