Hewlett-Packard has promoted Americas channel chief Adrian Jones to a new post running HP's Enterprise Storage and Servers (ESS) business in Asia-Pacific and Japan, the company told Channelweb.com Monday. HP is actively searching for a replacement for Jones in its Solution Providers Organization (SPO) - Americas, an HP spokesperson said.
"Asia's a great opportunity for HP from a growth perspective," said Jones, who confirmed that he will assume his new duties on Nov. 1 at the conclusion of HP's fiscal fourth quarter.
"I love the channel, I really do," he added. "The channel partners have been awesome to do business with over here. I'll have responsibility for the channel over there too, just in a different part of the world."
Jones, whose wife is Japanese, said he initially will be based in Singapore for a few months before moving to permanent headquarters in Tokyo. He said one of his primary responsibilities in the region will be to integrate HP's ProCurve-led networking business into ESS, apparently a global strategy for HP as it takes on Cisco for supremacy in the network and in the data center.
Jones' duties as general manager of Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP's SPO - Americas will be assumed by Stephen DeWitt, Jones' current boss, and Tom LaRocca on an interim basis following Jones' transfer. DeWitt is vice president and general manager of HP's Personal Systems Group - Americas and LaRocca is vice president of marketing in the SPO - Americas.
The promotion of Jones happens in the context of HP giving its business units more control over its channel initiatives. For example, HP announced earlier this year that Frank Rauch, vice president of HP's Enterprise Solutions Partners Organization, would report directly to ESS bosses rather than to Jones.
In the past couple of weeks, HP also has changed the role of Randal Runk, senior vice president of U.S. sales for the company's Technology Solutions Group (TSG), so that instead of handling all U.S. sales, he now focuses on 250 high-end enterprise and global accounts. And HP also has instructed Rudi Schmickl, general manager of ESS in the Americas, to focus more on OEM sales.
"It's interesting that all of these moves are happening now. This is all a part of reshuffling as HP gets ready for its new fiscal year starting Nov. 1," said Mark Gonzalez, president of Nth Generation Computing, a San Diego-based solution provider and HP partner.
"HP is moving the channel responsibility into the business units so they have more control," said another source, who asked not to be named. "That leaves no overall uber-channel executive. The plus side of that is the channel leadership will be more focused, more engaged. The risk side is they lose the ability to coordinate overall."
Next: Partners Praise Jones
HP partners said Jones presided over a channel renaissance at HP that resulted in robust sales growth for the vendor's reseller channel in North America. Several praised Jones for his role in building up the vendor's PartnerOne programs since joining Hewlett-Packard in March 2007 from fiber channel vendor McData following that company's acquisition by Brocade. Jones also previously served as a sales executive with storage vendor Quantum.
"Adrian built PartnerOne into a best-of-the-best program to drive VAR profits," said John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing at Denali Advanced Integration, a Redmond, Wash.-based HP partner. "One of the great pleasures of mine is having worked with Adrian Jones and gotten to know him professionally. He'll be missed from the SPO organization."
Convery also stressed Jones' efforts to bring CEO Mark Hurd and other top HP executives into customer meetings right alongside partners such as Denali through a program called Executive Connections. That program earned Jones and the SPO the sincerest form of flattery when similar joint sales calls were initiated by other IT vendors with their own channel partners.
Rick Chernick, CEO of Camera Corner Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wis.-based HP reseller who sits on the vendor's partner advisory council, called the Asia assignment a well-deserved promotion for Jones.
"My British friend in America is now going to Japan," Chernick said. "It's like a movie! He is a hard-running machine, extremely aggressive, disciplined and smart. Asia-Pacific is an area of high growth for HP and he is the man to get it done."
Chernick said Jones' leadership during the current economic downturn had helped Camera Corner Connecting Point post record overall sales and strong HP sales for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
Mont Phelps, CEO of NWN, a fast-growing HP partner headquartered in Waltham, Mass., also singled Jones out for praise and wished him well in his new job.
"Adrian had a big impact on the channel," he said. "He made it much simpler and easier to engage with HP. He took some of the friction out of the process. That made things go more smoothly for partners."
Phelps said the well-traveled Jones "was everywhere" partners needed him to be and that he was sensitive to the needs of both large and small HP partners.
For all his efforts, Everything Channel named Jones its 2008 VARBusiness Channel Executive of the Year for excellence in channel program management. Jones, meanwhile, did not rule out a return to the United States.
"I'm sure I'll be back in the U.S. someday and I look forward it," he said.
Joseph Kovar and Steve Burke contributed to this article.