Solution providers were surprised at the sudden departure of NetApp's channel chief, and credited him with giving the vendor a channel-friendly reputation.
NetApp Tuesday night said that Leonard Iventosch, vice president of global channels, is planning to leave the storage vendor shortly, and gave no reason for his departure.
Iventosch is being temporarily replaced by Pat Linehan, senior vice president of worldwide sales and Eric Mann, senior vice president of Americas sales, who will jointly head the company's channel efforts until a permanent replacement is found, NetApp said.
Neither Iventosch, a 2008 CRN Channel Chief, nor other NetApp officials responded to requests from ChannelWeb for comment.
The planned departure of the face of NetApp's channel caught solution providers by surprise, with many of them hearing about it for the first them when contacted by a ChannelWeb reporter.
"I guess the good news is, it's being communicated in a timely manner," said Rolf Strasheim, director of client solutions at Peak UpTime, a Tulsa, Okla.-based storage solution provider. "As a partner, I haven't heard about it yet."
The departure will be a significant event given Iventosch's long history with NetApp and the channel, Strasheim said. "He should be applauded for his contribution to the channel," he said.
NetApp is keenly aware of the value the channel plays to its success, and the last thing the vendor would do is something that would negatively impact the channel, Strasheim said.
Therefore, while Iventosch is leaving, a change of the channel guard should have little impact on solution providers at the local level, Strasheim said. He compared it to the aftermath of a presidential election, where the one man or woman elected as president will make little difference overall.
"They say politics plays out at the local level," he said. "Our work with NetApp is at the local level. For a multi-billion-dollar company with an established channel, his departure should have no immediate impact."
Rick Marcotte, president and CEO of DLT Solutions, a Herndon, Va.-based government solution provider, said that while NetApp's government business goes through a different channel infrastructure than the commercial business, he has always found Iventosch to be a good guy.
"He's always been a friend of the channel," Marcotte said. "I've always had a lot of respect for him."
Solution providers like DLT Solutions deal with a lot of vendors, but Marcotte said he can point to NetApp as a poster child for the channel both in terms of programs for its partners and in the fact that its product line is not over-distributed.
"It's sad that Leonard is leaving," he said. "But things go on. It's not going to change my life. But I'm sure he's got good things coming to him."
"Friend of the channel" was also how John Zammett, president of HorizonTek, a Huntington, N.Y.-based NetApp partner and storage solution provider, described Iventosch.
"Leonard is a friend of the channel from my perspective, and from what I am told by people who work with him," Zammett said. "My only concern is, who will replace him."
One NetApp solution provider, who prefered to remain anonymous, said that Iventosch never really impressed him, in part because of Iventosch's low-key personality.
"He came and spoke, and he was boring, and never introduced himself to us," the solution provider said. "He's so unlike (NetApp Vice Chairman)Tom Mendoza, who's a real dynamo, and a very funny guy. Iventosch was invisible to us."
Nevertheless, Iventosch has had a big impact on NetApp's channel, said Glenn Dekhayser, vice president of technology at Voyant Strategies, a Hazlet, N.J.-based solution provider.
"Iventosch is a great guy," Dekhayser said. "If it wasn't for him, NetApp wouldn't have as great a channel as they do."