IBM Names New Channel Chief As CEO Rometty Assembles Her Management Team

Taking over as channel chief is Mark Hennessy, according to IBM and channel sources, a 30-year IBM veteran who most recently was in charge of strategy and transformation for IBM sales and distribution.

Before taking his current job, Hennessy served as IBM's CIO between July 2007 and September 2009. During his career at IBM he has served in a number of sales, marketing and general manager posts.

Rich Hume, IBM's current channel chief (officially general manager of IBM global business partners), will move over to manage IBM's European operations and will be re-locating to Madrid, the source said.

Hume and Hennessy couldn't be reached for comment and IBM spokespersons did not immediately return requests for confirmation.

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Several IBM channel partners have been informed by IBM about the channel management changes, while others had only heard unconfirmed reports and had yet to receive any formal communication from the company.

During Hume's term as channel chief IBM made the decision to rely exclusively on channel partners to reach small and midsize customers. The company also beefed up partner training and certification programs, increased spending on partner incentives, and launched partner initiatives in such areas as cloud computing, ecommerce and business analytics.

"Hume did a great job for the channel. He has been a great advocate and has helped the partners migrate their businesses to be in alignment with IBM’s 2015 strategic roadmap," said Joe Mertens, president and CEO at Sirius Computer Solutions, one of IBM's biggest channel partners.

"As an example, we have invested much more in cloud, software and business analytics over the last two years much as a result of Rich’s influence and those investments are really beginning to pay off," Mertens said in an e-mail.

IBM channel partners said they did not know Hennessy, but said they are looking forward to working with him.

Rometty took over as CEO on Jan. 1, replacing Sam Palmisano who remains as IBM's chairman. Earlier this week Rometty named Bruno Di Leo as the company's new senior vice president of sales and distribution, and Bridget Van Kralingen as senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services.