NetSuite Taps Former Microsoft Marketing Exec As New CMO


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NetSuite has hired former Microsoft marketing executive Fred Studer as the cloud application vendor's new chief marketing officer.

Studer, who worked at Microsoft for seven years, said in an interview with CRN that one of his priorities will be working with NetSuite's channel organization and helping partners improve their marketing efforts.

"The channel is extraordinarily important to NetSuite and important to the ecosystem in this space," Studer said, noting that CEO Zach Nelson specifically asked him about his "channel philosophy" during his interviews. "The channel is one of my top priorities."

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Studer will report directly to CEO Zach Nelson, who has been filling the CMO role for more than a year following the departure of the previous CMO, David Downing, in 2013.

Studer's appointment comes as NetSuite remains on a rapid growth trajectory, reporting 34 percent year-over-year growth in its third quarter ended Sept. 30 to $143.7 million. Sales for all of 2014 will exceed $550 million and are forecast to surge to between $715 million and $725 million in 2015.

NetSuite has been growing rapidly as it challenges competitors SAP, Sage Software and Microsoft. Studer comes from the latter's Business Solutions division, whose Dynamics ERP and CRM applications are among NetSuite's closest competing products.

Studer had been part of the Dynamics team since 2011, initially helping to manage the ERP application product lines (Dynamics AX, GP, NAV and SL) before becoming general manager of the Dynamics CRM products in August 2013. In that post he was responsible for planning and executing the go-to-market strategy for the CRM software.

Before joining the Business Solutions division, Studer was general manager of the U.S. Microsoft Office business. Prior to joining Microsoft, Studer worked at Oracle for 12 years, including holding the post of group vice president of marketing.

In the interview, Studer said one of his key tasks will be documenting and publicizing how NetSuite customers are using the vendor's applications, not just to run their operations, but also to drive new business.

And he said the channel is a big part of that. "I am absolutely pro-channel and [I] don't think we have enough partners," he said, adding that he wants to understand how the company works with existing partners and is recruiting new partners.

Studer said he will work closely with Craig West, NetSuite's channel chief, to extend NetSuite's marketing programs to help partners with their own marketing efforts.

"I think we can do a better job of helping our partners tell the NetSuite story to our customers," he said. "How do we optimize that message?" That includes highlighting both the value that NetSuite's applications provide, he said, and the value that partners bring to the table.

Studer, who moved from the Bay Area to the Seattle area when he worked for Microsoft, will return to the San Francisco area to work at San Mateo-based NetSuite.

PUBLISHED DEC. 29, 2014

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