Richard Belluzzo, who said he was stepping down as president and COO of Microsoft in March, resurfaced Thursday as the CEO-apparent of storage vendor Quantum.
Belluzzo will take the top spot Sept. 3 from Michael Brown, who will relinquish the title after seven years but will remain with the company as chairman.
Prior to Microsoft, Belluzzo was chairman and CEO of Silicon Graphics and also spent 20 years at Hewlett-Packard, most recently as executive vice president and general manager of the company's Computer Products Organization.
In an interview with CRN, Belluzzo said he decided to leave Microsoft due to a restructuring of the company, which he said had made his position redundant.
Belluzzo said he is no stranger to the storage industry. At HP, he said he served as marketing manager for that company's disk-drive business, in addition to working in HP's software, services and printer divisions.
"I really have a pretty diverse background, and much of it is around the kind of business that Quantum is in--hardware, software, services--bringing it all in together to help customers and to work with partners to be able to deliver the kinds of solutions that they're looking for," he said.
From HP to Microsoft, Belluzzo said he has been involved in indirect sales and will fit right in at Quantum, a company he said is strongly committed to the channel. "If you look at Quantum's business today, [building channel relations is absolutely essential," he said. "We don't have a direct sales force of size. It really is about taking our technology, our value, our contribution, and being able to deliver that through partners of all kinds, including resellers."
Quantum has a history as a hardware vendor but is now in a transition to make software, along with data protection and storage networking products, a more important part of its product mix, Belluzzo said. "That whole process is a significant transition in terms of repositioning the company, introducing new products, building new channel relationships," he said. "All of those things are under way in a very challenging environment.
Belluzzo said some of the challenges he will face at Quantum include getting the company to profitability in today's economic environment, as well as growing the business and getting new products introduced.
"Going forward, we need to take those opportunities and deliver more revenue growth so that we can build a leadership position in some of these new areas," he said. "We have to reposition the company and do new things."
Belluzzo remains a Microsoft employee until the end of August, he said.
Belluzzo said his move to Quantum could even help bring that company and his former employer together. "Microsoft has always been in the storage business and also recognizes there's a lot of work to be done to help with storage management, the ability to be able to back up data," he said. "I hope we'll be able to partner with Microsoft in a way that allows us to bring our mutual strengths together."