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Pioneering Former Salesforce, Microsoft Channel Exec Ron Huddleston Dies

In February, Huddleston brought his years of experience at Oracle, Salesforce and Microsoft to Twilio as chief partner officer.

Ron Huddleston, a widely admired channel executive who developed and led partner programs at some of the largest enterprise software vendors including Salesforce and Microsoft, died unexpectedly on Friday. He was 45 years old, according to public records.

Huddleston took the job of chief partner officer at Twilio in February after playing an integral role in a revamp of Microsoft's channel program structure.

"Twilio is heartbroken over the loss of Ron Huddleston, a dear friend, respected colleague and leader," a company spokesperson told CRN. "Ron joined Twilio to lead the partner organization earlier this year and has made an indelible impact on the organization and team here at Twilio. He is already and will continue to be greatly missed. We hold Ron and his family in our thoughts."

The company did not disclose Huddleston’s cause of death.

Shortly after arriving at Twilio, Huddleston told CRN he left the world's largest software company because he was excited to tap his experience at several software powerhouses to pioneer a channel for a new type of organization and leverage his diverse contacts to grow that ecosystem.

"It’s a whole new opportunity for partners, the way I look at it," Huddleston told CRN weeks after starting his job at Twilio, a San Francisco cloud-based communications technology vendor.

Huddleston joined Microsoft in June of 2016. The following February he was tasked with leading the newly formed One Commercial Partner program, a sweeping reorganization that consolidated several of Microsoft's partner and services teams.

Before coming to Microsoft, Huddleston spent eight years at Salesforce as the channel executive charged with spearheading growth of the AppExchange online marketplace. Huddleston also played a crucial role building Salesforce's partner program—the CRM giant was working with only a handful of integrators when he arrived, but soon cultivated one of the world's largest channel ecosystems

Huddleston started his career at Oracle, where he climbed the ranks to vice president and launched the software giant's first OEM and ISV program.

Meanwhile, those who worked with Huddleston took to social media to remember his impact.

Twilio co-founder and CEO Jeff Lawson said in a post on Twitter that Huddleston “made an indelible impact on all who knew him and will be greatly missed.”

“Ron Huddleston was a visionary Channel leader who revolutionized the way Salesforce goes to market by spearheading and growing their partner channel and online AppExchange marketplace into the largest channel ecosystem in the world,” said Jon Ferrara, CEO of Nimble CRM. “I was privileged to work closely with Ron during his tenure at Microsoft where he helped initiate a third party offers program and transformed the way Microsoft and its partners go to market together with the One Commercial Partner program massive reorganization. I will always remember his powerful positive energy and presence.”

Brian Snyder, Partner Alliances Director, Ecosystem & Channels at GE Digital, wrote on Facebook: “I, like so many others, am shocked and saddened by the loss of Ron Huddleston. It doesn’t feel real. I echo so many with my gratitude for the opportunities that my time in his organization has given me. Ron used to always tell us that the skills we were learning and experience we were gaining would make us all uniquely valuable in our industry.”

Huddleston’s influence reached across the tech community, said Snyder, who worked with Huddleston at Salesforce.

“He touched so many of us throughout the tech ecosystem and I will be forever indebted for the impact he’s had on my life,” he said.

I, like so many others, am shocked and saddened by the loss of Ron Huddleston. It doesn’t feel real. I echo so many with...

Posted by Brian Snyder on Sunday, September 30, 2018
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