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Comings & Goings: Five9 Taps Robert Zollars to Add Experience to Its Board of Directors

February 03, 2014

By Steve Anderson,
Contributing TMCnet Writer

A company making moves with its board of directors is generally a big sign. Whether it's a good or bad sign depends largely on perspective, but it's no less significant for its ambiguity. In any case, cloud contact center solutions provider Five9 was looking to add some depth of experience to its board of directors and found just what they were looking for in Robert Zollars, who will be joining the Five9 (News - Alert) board on the strength of some very impressive qualifications.

Five9's CEO and president Mike Burkland summarized nicely why Zollars was tapped, explaining that the new board member has had plenty of experience “leading companies from $100 million to more than $5 billion in revenues.” Burkland also noted that Zollars has “expertise in general management, corporate strategy and mergers and acquisitions.” Indeed, looking at Zollars' work history is like looking at a corporate celebrity of sorts; Zollars previously served as the CEO of Vocera (News - Alert), where he's currently executive chairman of the board, as well as the CEO of both Wound Care Solutions and Neoforma, which operated in the healthcare industry.

Beyond the role of CEO, Zollars has also served as group president and executive vice president with Cardinal Health, was division president of four different units of Baxter International (which also deals in healthcare), is an active member on the board of VWR International, and is currently chairman of the board for Diamond Foods and.

Some may believe that a major board move suggests a company is looking to augment the board's skill set and make inroads into other, less familiar markets ­– usually a good plan that creates new revenue streams and increased profit. Zollars, meanwhile, looks to have more than sufficient experience with the management of major firms to really give Five9 a boost in the field. Some might be concerned here that most of Zollars' experience is in the healthcare market, but then this may be a sign of something new on the horizon as well.

Five9's focus is on the cloud contact center, and it has made some serious moves in this particular field. So why would Five9 bring in a guy whose experience is mainly geared toward the healthcare industry? Well, Five9 has actually already been seen bringing its cloud contact center to healthcare companies—sitting right on its front webpage is a testimonial from Medical Alert, whose director of telecommunications Joe Huffnagle has noted the versatility and easy scalability of Five9's offerings. If Five9 were interested in expanding into the healthcare vertical further (and why not, given the growth of the market overall, thanks to an aging population of baby boomers?) then having someone on the roster with a lot of healthcare experience would be very valuable indeed.

Only time will tell just where Five9 is going with this new hire, but it's quite clear that the company now has some serious experience with which to augment its board. There may be some exciting new developments to come as a result, so it will be a field worth watching in even the short term.

Edited by Blaise McNamee