Microsoft Channel Superstar Martorano To Take Intermedia SVP Worldwide Sales Job

Eric Martorano

Microsoft U.S. Partner Sales General Manager Eric Martorano, who launched the software giant's successful Cloud Champions program, is leaving the company to take a position as senior vice president of worldwide sales for Intermedia, one of Microsoft's largest cloud partners.

Martorano, an eight-year Microsoft veteran who was responsible for $17 billion in commercial sales, is scheduled to take the top Intermedia sales job effective Sept. 15. Partners said Martorano's departure is a loss that will be felt within the Microsoft channel community. At the same, they said it is a channel game-changer for Mountain View, Calif.-based Intermedia, a fast-growing cloud services company.

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Tony Safoian, president and CEO of Los Angeles-based SADA Systems, a Google and Microsoft cloud partner, said Martorano did the heavy lifting to get Microsoft's cloud program off the ground.

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"Eric was there on the front lines during the most challenging time in Microsoft's existence not only from a product standpoint in terms of the evolution of the cloud, but for the partner ecosystem evolution," said Safoian. "Eric was not afraid to have the tough conversations with partners about what they needed to do to continue to be relevant."

Safoian credited Martorano's "open and candid" style as key to Microsoft's success in the cloud market. "You could always get the real story from Eric," he said. "He would always give it to you straight."

When Safoian first met Martorano at CRN parent The Channel Company's XChange conference, Safoian was selling Google Docs cloud solutions but not Microsoft's Office 365. "I think Eric was a visionary," he said. "Eric always had our back during a time when it was very controversial to bring us on board. He supported us and backed us up as a strong channel advocate. He always saw the big picture and believed in us and the value we provided to customers. His strategy was to give us a big bear hug, not push us away because we were Google partners."

Safoian said the Intermedia job gives Martorano a "great opportunity" to make another big impact on the channel. At the same, he said he firmly believes in Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Stephen Boyle's leadership.

"Boyle has the right DNA in terms of where Microsoft is at now to reinvigorate and restructure the partner organization for a new generation of Microsoft partners."

Boyle in a prepared statement wished Martorano well in his new position with Intermedia. "The move is beneficial for the partner community as he is well respected in the industry and known for his business and channel leadership," said Boyle.

In the wake of Martorano's departure, Jeff Turner, a 12-year Microsoft veteran, is taking over as general manager of SMB distribution. In addition, Shawn Toldo will continue as director of Microsoft's coveted licensing service provider partnerships and Eric Loper will continue to run the national solution provider business.

Quy "Q" Nguyen, CEO of Allyance, a global communication solutions provider based in Irvine, Calif., that has done a lot of charity work, credited Martorano with not only building a world-class channel program but also with bringing the channel community together to help others through The Channel Company's Channel@Work program.

"As much respect as I have for Eric as a channel executive, I have more respect for him for what he has done with philanthropy and how he has integrated that into the channel partner community," said Nguyen. "That is something near and dear to my heart. That commitment to the community for me is another reason you want to do business with Eric."

Nguyen said he currently does not do business with Intermedia but is looking forward to possibly working with the cloud services provider in the future. "Because Eric is going there, Intermedia is now on our radar," he said. "That is the type of impact Eric makes as a partner executive. Building a channel is no easy task. What Eric did at Microsoft was build relationships and put together a program that was lucrative and profitable for partners."

Martorano, who started his 20-year channel career as a solution provider himself, said in an interview with CRN that he is looking forward to increasing the Intermedia investment in the channel with new enablement and improved profitability. "As customers move to digitally transform, Intermedia is going to be at the forefront of providing opportunities that provide increased value to customers," he said.

Intermedia has a full cloud portfolio including hosted Microsoft Exchange, Office 365, SecuriSync backup and file sharing, Intermedia AppID identity and access management and Cloud PBX. Furthermore, the company's private-label program, which allows partners to add services and take control of pricing and branding, has been a big hit with partners.

Martorano said he sees a significant opportunity to significantly grow Intermedia's "channel first" model with huge untapped potential for security and Cloud PBX markets. That sales potential comes even as Intermedia has tripled its sales, operating profits and user base over the past five years.

"Intermedia's growth is just beginning," said Martorano. "You are going to continue to see an upward trajectory as we build out and enable our partner community to be successful. We are going to continue to drive growth with a healthy and robust channel ecosystem. My first priority is making sure that the channel continues to be one of our most strategic assets."

Martorano said he is looking forward to continuing the cloud channel commitment at Intermedia that he has demonstrated throughout his career. "I have never wavered on my commitment to the channel," he said. "I believe in the value the channel provides to customers and the industry from SMB to the enterprise. The channel is going to be my No. 1 priority at Intermedia."