Microsoft Names Channel Chief Of Enterprise Group

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As the beginning of its 2004 fiscal year approaches, Microsoft is putting the final touches on new executive appointments, including the naming of a vice president of its Enterprise and Partner Group.

Simon Witts, once a vice president of sales and marketing for the Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa region, will fill that role.

Sources said Witts will report directly to Paul Flessner, senior vice president of Microsoft's Server Platform Division. A Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed the appointment of Witts to the top enterprise post under Flessner but could not confirm his new title. The spokeswoman also said the naming of the group has not been finalized.

Witts will head up the entire enterprise group, but many of the enterprise partner responsibilities will be handled by Jared Wheeler and Chris Cale. Wheeler is currently general manager of Microsoft Global Services and Technology Partners. Cale manages partner sales strategy under Ralph Young, vice president of Microsoft Enterprise Sales Strategy.

Allison Watson, vice president of Worldwide Partner Sales and Marketing, will continue to serve as overall channel chief, according to Microsoft.

"Simon came from England,ran things there for a while,now he reports to Flessner. He's a bright, nice guy who will do well," said one source familiar with the new appointment. "We're getting a consistent message from Microsoft these days that Allison [Watson] owns the [worldwide] partner channel, Margo [Day] owns the U.S. subsidiary and now Simon [Witts] owns the strategy and enterprise partners," the source added.

The Enterprise and Partner Group post was left void after Charles Stevens moved over to the company's storage division a year ago.

However, responsibilities for large systems integrators have been distributed across the company since that time and have been under the control of two key execs, one of whom is Young, under Flessner. As part of the executive reshuffle, he will leave that post to become vice president of Microsoft's Western region, sources said.

Sanjay Parthasarathy, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Platform Strategy and Partner Group, has also shared responsibilities for managing global partners, including systems integrators and ISVs, over the past year, the spokeswoman said.

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