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Xerox Ousts Channel Chief Amid Big Reorganization

Pete Peterson -- who had been with the copier icon since March 2017 -- confirms he’s gone and says he’s ‘very proud of the work I did there.’ He tells CRN he plans to start his own consulting company.

Xerox is in the midst of a massive internal reorganization to start the new year, and has forced out Pete Peterson, president of Xerox Channels, and moved other high-ranking execs, according to two internal memos obtained by CRN.

In his memo, Xerox CEO John Visentin wished Peterson well as he left to “pursue other interests.” Xerox did not respond to requests for comment this morning.

Peterson, a former Tech Data executive, had been with Xerox since March 2017.

Peterson confirmed his departure and told CRN that given the upheaval during his time with the company, he always viewed his role there as temporary, so he tried to find the right talent and organize his team as best he could.

“I’m very proud of the work I did there,” he said. “I revamped the global partner program, which was in need of reorganization. I brought in talent at all levels from marketing to channel sales … This organization is poised for success and for growth. I could not be more proud of my time there.”

Peterson said in the week since he officially left the company that he’s received calls and job offers. He said he plans to launch a consulting company – Navion Solutions Group – later this month.

“I’ve been very fortunate, throughout my career,” he said. “I’m fortunate enough to have a good reputation in the industry and I’m looking forward to starting my own business.”

Peterson led the company’s channel sales through a rocky start of 2018, with an on-again, off-again proposed sale to Fujifilm, then a revolving door atmosphere at the top of the company that saw ex-Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson leave only to return and leave again in the first two weeks of May.

According to those inside the organization, and two internal memos, in the closing days of the year, Xerox realigned its go-to-market leadership into two groups: the Americas Operations and EMEA. Leading the Americas operation is Mike Feldman, currently president of North America operations for the company.

“These changes reflect a closer alignment with industry standards and the way our customers expect to buy and be serviced, making it easier for them to do business with us,” Visentin wrote in a Dec. 17 memo. “At the same time, we are optimizing our operations. This will create a simpler, flatter, more agile organization that will help empower our people and make it easier to speed decisions into action on behalf of our customers, as well as create ways to work more productively.”

Hervé Tessler, president of international operations, will lead EMEA Operations, Visentin wrote.

Previously, partners reported to their regional VP, then to Rose Willis, now leading the US Agent Team, then to Darren Cassidy, now the head of global supply, then Pete Peterson, then Feldman. Under the new structure, partners will instead report to their regional VP, then Willis, then Feldman -- translating to a quicker, more streamlined process, they said.

However, while the efficiency is appreciated, two partners who spoke with CRN on background both had high praise for Peterson, one of whom said he “steered the ship” through a turbulent beginning of 2018. While the new organization will give them quicker access to the top, Peterson, and Cassidy -- who will no longer handle partners with his move to supply -- both will be missed by solution providers.

Visentin has set a Thursday call with partners when more details of the firm’s moves will be announced.

“The changes in our go-to-market operations, Global Delivery and Global Supplies are significant steps towards achieving our vision of becoming a tech powerhouse and position us for a strong start in 2019,” Visentin said. “By removing complexity in the way we work, organizing more effectively, and creating greater customer focus, we will be able to improve our customers’ experience and drive even greater revenue opportunities for Xerox next year and beyond.”

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