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Microsoft Channel Veteran David Willis To Depart

Willis, corporate vice president of the U.S. One Commercial Partner group at Microsoft, has been with the company since 1992.

Microsoft executive David Willis is departing in January after nearly three decades in channel-related roles at the company, concluding with his current position as corporate vice president of the U.S. One Commercial Partner group.

Willis, who was a CRN Channel Chiefs honoree for the past two years, has headed Microsoft’s U.S. commercial partner business since mid-2017.

[Related: 10 Big Takeaways From Microsoft Inspire 2020]

He disclosed his upcoming departure in a blog post on LinkedIn, saying that he’ll stay on through January “to support the transition to my successor once announced.”

Willis, who spent the past 28 years at Microsoft, said he is leaving to spend more time with his family and his interests, and did not specify whether he might take a role at a different company in the future.

“I’ll be shifting my balance from less work to more play, as I spend much more of my time on passions that include snowboarding, playing hockey, my guitars, spending more quality time with family & friends, and eventually some fun travel experiences once COVID-19 eases up,” Willis said in the LinkedIn post.

Willis joined Microsoft Canada in 1992, where he held a variety of channel-related roles before joining Microsoft U.S. as a vice president in the channel business in 2006. He moved up to vice president for Microsoft’s U.S. Dynamics business in 2008, where he was responsible for functions including sales and partner management.

Willis served as corporate vice president for Microsoft’s U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners business from 2013 to July 2017, when he assumed his current role heading the U.S. One Commercial Partner group.

Earlier this year, Willis shared details with CRN on how he was helping to steer Microsoft’s channel strategy.

“One of the biggest market forces impacting us today is the shifting of customer IT budgets and decisions to a distributed approach where lines of business play a greater role,” Willis said. “This creates opportunities for partners to play an even greater role for vendors and customers by developing deep expertise and/or IP [intellectual] in a LOB [line of business] solution and driving that aggressively to market.”

To support partners, he said, Microsoft has “built a technical enablement practice to ensure partner readiness. We’re also creating opportunities for connection with our sales teams. At one event, we were generating 23,000+ partner/field connections, for industry and solution alignment.”

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