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VMware's Ross Brown Exits, Channel Chief Brandon Sweeney Takes Over Cloud Provider Program Duties

VMware's former channel leader had been running a program for the virtualization giant's cloud services providers since last year.

Ross Brown, who led VMware's channel program up until last summer, is no longer with the virtualization company, several sources confirmed Thursday.

Brown's departure comes just six months after VMware shuffled its executive deck, promoting channel ace Brandon Sweeney to senior vice president of worldwide sales and operations and moving Brown into a role focused on cloud, the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies.

"When Brandon was appointed into that job, Ross' responsibilities shifted and it became a natural break point," one channel source close to VMware, who did not want to be identified, told CRN.

[Related: New VMware Channel Chief Sweeney On Taking 'Friction' Out Of Dell EMC Deals, Rules Of Engagement And Disty Relationships]

"Ross was really good at strategy, but is not a channel operations guy. The torch at VMware has been passed from a focus on channel strategy to channel operations," the source said, adding Brown's departure was a mutual decision.

Brown, who had been reporting to VMware Chief Operating Officer of Customer Operations Sanjay Poonen, came to VMware in August 2015 to fill the channel chief position. His previous experience included a four-year stint, starting in 2008, in a channel leadership position at Microsoft.

Sweeney, a 14-year VMware veteran credited with building the company's channel, has taken over Brown's current responsibilities around the cloud program, the source said.

A VMware spokesperson told CRN that Brown left the company this month to pursue other personal interests and return to go-to-market consulting.

"We thank him for his contributions to the VMware Channel and Strategic Alliances team," the spokesperson said.

Sweeney continues to serve as VMware's global channel chief, a role he filled in August.

Brown's LinkedIn page said he started a sabbatical this month. Neither Sweeney nor Brown's LinkedIn pages, however, reflect the job changes implemented last summer, although VMware at the time confirmed them to CRN.

"He always looked at this as a several-year job and started to wind down after Brandon's appointment," the source said.

VMware hasn't directly notified partners of Brown's departure, according to several solution providers in the company's channel.

William Bell, vice president of products at PhoenixNAP, a managed services and cloud operator based in Phoenix, told CRN while he hasn't heard an announcement as to Brown, he's reached out to some VMware employees who informed him of the departure. VMware probably wants to keep the exit low key, Bell said.

PhoenixNAP doesn't expect to see significant changes to the Cloud Provider Program it participates in as a result of Brown no longer being in his previous position.

"We have worked with various folks with reporting lines up to Brandon in the past and we have full faith and confidence in the direction of the Cloud Provider Program specifically," Bell told CRN.

The Cloud Provider Program underwent a transformation late last year.

"We think that their direction is fairly locked in and stabilized, at least for now," Bell said.

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