CRN Exclusive: IBM Has A New Software Channel Leader

IBM has elevated a popular channel executive to lead partner sales across its expansive software portfolio.

Mike Gerentine, who for years led Big Blue's channel marketing efforts, was named vice president of software channel sales, taking charge of managing partners across a multibillion-dollar global business that spans several IBM business divisions, including Watson and cloud.

Gerentine will be "providing business direction for all of them," Marc Dupaquier, IBM's channel chief, told CRN. "He's really well known and respected by the partner community."

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In his prior position, Gerentine was IBM's go-to guy for helping partners transform their businesses to the new realities of the cloud, Dupaquier said. In his new role, he'll continue adapting IBM's software contracts to the new realities of Software-as-a-Service.

"The job of selling software licenses is probably going extinct very quickly," the channel chief said. "We are bringing someone from my team, a strong software exec, who understands digital transformation."

Gerentine "basically invented" IBM's partner program for software distribution, creating new competencies and marketing engines, Dupaquier said.

Gerentine started with IBM in 2002 in the Tivoli software division. After a stint away from the company, he returned to hold several leadership roles over the last seven years in the channel marketing group.

Flagship Solutions Group, an IBM business partner since 2008, has transformed its practice from focusing exclusively on hardware to reselling IBM Software-as-a-Service products.

Mark Wyllie, CEO of Flagship, based in Boca Raton, Fla., said Gerentine played an instrumental role in the company's transformation. He also helped the solution provider win several important software engagements, including one with the Miami Dolphins.

"With an extensive background in IBM Software, Mike will have the opportunity to have a bigger impact on its partner ecosystem in his new position and help us and our clients accelerate SaaS adoption," Wyllie told CRN by email.

Gerentine fills a position vacated about a year ago when Mark Register left IBM for DocuSign. Vincent Zandvliet had been covering in the role, but his background was in sales, and Dupaquier said he wanted to get someone with more of a channel pedigree into the job.

Dupaquier said he intends to fill Gerentine's previous position in the next few days.