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"He will have a difficult time filling Mark's shoes," Venero said. "It'll be interesting to see. He's an intelligent guy. I don't believe he'll come in and turn the company upside down and say 'our focus is direct.'"
Gary R. Ellis, president of BPI Information Systems, a Brecksville, Ohio-based solution provider, said he hopes Apotheker will increase the channel focus put in place by Hurd, but that given SAP's big direct business, he isn't sure that will be the case.
"How well he blends with the channel is going to be something we're all going to be concerned about," Ellis said. "All of us would have loved to see a channel guy get the job. That would have been the best situation, a channel guy that was already within HP on the sales side. Or even someone with channel experience in a different industry. But coming from a direct company like SAP, there's got to be some concern because of the uncertainty of it all."
For many of HP's solution providers, Apotheker is a big unknown.
Rick Chernick, president of Camera Corner/Connecting Point, a Green Bay, Wis.-based solution provider, said he hopes Apotheker is a great pick for HP.
Next: Wondering Why HP Didn't Choose Bradley