Bill Rodrigues, a hard-driving 18-year Dell sales veteran, is stepping aside as of April 30 as president of Dell EMC North America.
David Schmook, current president of the $38 billion end-user computing business at Dell and former president of Lenovo North America, will replace Rodrigues effective May 8.
"We are confident David is the right leader for Dell EMC North America commercial sales today and into the future," said Dell in a prepared statement confirming the changing of the guard. "Dell is currently considering candidates to replace David as leader for global client solutions sales." Schmook, a 14-year Dell veteran, rejoined the company in 2012 after a 10-year stint with Lenovo.
"I'm sorry to see Bill go," said Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 167 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500. "I thought he was a great leader and advocate for the channel once Dell moved into the channel. He will be missed."
Venero said Rodrigues adopted a channel mind-set as Dell ramped up its channel charge. "Look at the growth of the Dell channel business, which is now more than $35 billion," Venero said. "It is an amazing shift in their culture and in their business. Our Dell business has been growing at double digits year over year for the last three years."
Venero, who has known Schmook for a decade, said he is looking forward to working with the Dell veteran to drive sales growth. "There are a lot of changes happening with Dell EMC, " he said. "I look forward to continued communication. There is no question that David gets the channel. He understands how to work with partners to grow the business. It will be interesting to see the difference between David's approach and Bill's approach. Sometimes change is a good thing. If Dell EMC has proved one thing, it is that they are absolutely focused on supporting their partners and customers."
Schmook spent nine years at Dell from 1997 to 2006 before departing to become chief information officer and senior vice president of Lenovo Singapore. He returned to Dell in November 2012.
Michael Goldstein, CEO of LAN Infotech, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., solution provider, said Schmook needs to "triple down" on the channel in the midst of all the changes as Dell fully integrates its $60 billion acquisition of EMC.
"I think you still have partners trying to overcome the old Dell direct mentality even with all the work that Dell has put into the channel," he said. "I have been a Dell partner for 10 years and we have seen big changes. With the new Dell EMC channel program requirements, we're now fully committed to Dell in the commercial market. We need Dell to be fully committed to us."
Goldstein said Rodrigues was always accessible to partners. "Bill was a great guy and was always there for us," he said. "The key for David is to continue that channel momentum."
The CEO of a top Dell partner, who did not want to be identified, said he is looking forward to seeing just what kind of channel alignment Schmook establishes as the head of the North America commercial business. "He is now heading up the commercial business at Dell, he has to be really clear about the Dell channel strategy," he said. "He is really going to have prove his channel mettle."
Rodrigues was hired by Dell as a vice president and general manager to head the company's K-12 education business. Before Dell, Rodrigues spent 21 years at IBM, ending his career there as general manager for global education in North America.