For SolarWinds' (NYSE:SWI) $120 million buyout of N-able Technologies to succeed, three key executives will need to deliver big long-term performances. Their names: JP Jauvin, Mike Cullen and Derik Belair. Those executives are familiar names to N-able's managed services provider (MSP) partners. Now, they must make a name for themselves among SolarWinds' investors while also remaining loyal to N-able's MSP partner ecosystem.

Under terms of the deal:

  • N-able CEO Gavin Garbutt will retire
  • JP Jauvin will shift from N-able president to general manager, essentially running the N-able business for SolarWinds.
  • N-able Senior VP of Sales Mike Cullen, and VP of Marketing Derik Belair, will also remain with the company.

Within hours of SolarWinds announcing the N-able acquisition, some rivals alleged that SolarWinds will shift N-able to a direct sales model in the SMB market -- bypassing MSPs along the way.

Both SolarWinds and N-able dismiss such claims, insisting that N-able's go-to-market strategy will continue to depend on MSPs serving small business customers.

So where does N-able go from here? It's a safe bet Jauvin will focus on the internal integration with SolarWinds. At the same time, Cullen and Belair -- two top road warriors in the MSP industry -- will remain extremely close to the MSP ecosystem.

Jauvin's Task At Hand

We've all seen M&A deals implode amid botched integrations, poor communications and competing priorities between the buyer and seller. In this case, Jauvin will need to be the buffer between SolarWinds and N-able, making sure that N-able fulfills SolarWinds' growth expectations without losing N-able's highly-valued SMB channel focus along the way.

Jauvin has faced big challenges before. When he arrived as a consultant at N-able, the company had a visionary leader (CEO Garbutt), a revenue rain maker (Cullen) and a marketing guru (Belair). But there wasn't really a central person who was a master at day-to-day business management and process automation.

Jauvin quickly tackled those tasks as a consultant, then joined the company full-time as president in 2010.

Now, he'll need to work a little more magic -- making sure the SolarWinds/N-able deal is a winner for SolarWinds' shareholders as well as N-able's MSP partner base.

That's a tricky balancing act.