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George Hope Named New HPE Worldwide Channel Chief

‘We have been building everything around being the edge to cloud Platform-as-a-Service company,’ says Hope in an exclusive interview with CRN. ‘We are doubling down on the edge because 70 percent of the data that is being created is at the edge. Being able to give that cloud experience whether you are on-prem, off-prem or at the edge is key. We are making that a reality. My job is to bring the channel on that journey. We need our channel to be purpose-built for that vision.’

George Hope, a 22-year channel veteran with deep enterprise and SMB channel roots, has been named the new worldwide channel chief for Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Hope, who had been acting as interim worldwide channel chief since the promotion six weeks ago of former worldwide channel chief Paul Hunter to managing director of North America, officially takes the job Oct. 1.

Hope said he was ecstatic when he got the call from his new boss, HPE Worldwide Chief Sales Officer Heiko Meyer, telling him that he had gotten the job.

“I tried to keep as cool as I could but I threw my arms in the air and said, ‘Yes!’,” exclaimed Hope in an exclusive interview with CRN. “I was thrilled. I can’t say enough about how great it feels and how much I want to have an impact. … I am very humbled to be chosen and I am looking forward to getting started.”

Hope—who for the last three years has been vice president of worldwide distribution—is making his first formal appearance as worldwide channel chief at HPE’s virtual distribution partner conference this week. The third annual HPE distribution partner conference features 1,000 attendees from 300 distribution partners.

Hope said his experience working directly for Hunter for the last three years provided him with the strong foundation to take the worldwide channel chief post.

“I’ve learned a lot from Paul,” said Hope. “A lot of this is about continuity of some of the existing programs because I have been part of the channel evolution for the last three years. I think I got the job because of my experience. I’m looking forward to leveraging that experience to help partners transform for what the new HPE looks like.”

Priority No. 1, said Hope, is executing on the edge to cloud Platform-as-a-Service vision that HPE President CEO Antonio Neri laid out several years ago with the goal of moving the entire HPE product portfolio to as a service by 2022.

“We are well down the path of achieving that,” said Hope. “We have been building everything around being the edge to cloud Platform-as-a-Service company. We are doubling down on the edge because 70 percent of the data that is being created is at the edge. Being able to give that cloud experience whether you are on-prem, off-prem or at the edge is key. We are making that a reality. My job is to bring the channel on that journey. We need our channel to be purpose-built for that vision.”

This week, Hope is rallying distribution partners to dramatically step up the GreenLake pay-per-use channel attack as part of HPE’s new Swift program aimed at driving sales growth of GreenLake midmarket packages starting at $70,000 to $300,000. The Swift program was recently rolled out to 36 countries, said Hope.

“We are two years into Everything as a Service, we have huge traction and tremendous growth, but we are still just scratching the surface there,” he said.

The clarion call for the channel is to drive forward HPE GreenLake and HPE’s edge to cloud Platform-as-a-Service strategy, said Hope.

“The call to action [for partners] is understand our strategy and get aligned with our strategy,” he said. “What we are doing up and down the organization is all aligning under the edge to cloud Platform-as-a-Service vision that [HPE President and CEO] Antonio [Neri] has.”

Hope said he has been advocating for channel partners for his entire career starting out as a sales rep in 1988 for electronic component distributor Future Electronics, as a senior channel sales executive for storage stalwart EMC for 16 years and then as vice president of global channels for hyperconverged superstar SimpliVity, which was acquired by HPE In 2017.

“I have been involved with all aspects of the channel from managing distribution to the national and global partners to enterprise commercial midmarket and SMB,” said Hope.

Among his top priorities, Hope said, will be helping partners to take advantage of the SMB opportunity. “We are making it easier for partners to serve that market,” he said. “Those customers, they need us. They are probably among the most challenged these days [with COVID-19]. They have to interact differently with their customers. They have to create remote work opportunities. They need lots of help, and we have the solutions for them. We’re tailoring solutions for partners to be able to help those customers.”

Hope told partners not to expect any dramatic changes in HPE’s channel strategy for HPE’s new fiscal year, which begins Nov. 1. “Part of the beauty of HPE is the consistency,”he said. “The channel requirements are pretty obvious: channel-ready products and solutions, a sandbox to play in, a path to profitability and some mutually agreed upon rules of engagement.”

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