CRN Exclusive: Oracle's Channel Chief Departs For VMware


Bill Swales, who ran North American channels for Oracle, left the company in December for a new position at VMware.

In his three-and-a-half-year tenure as channel chief for the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software giant, Swales presided over a massive shift of Oracle's partner ecosystem to a focus on selling an emerging line of cloud services.

He will be replaced by 25-year Oracle veteran Dale Weideling, sources told CRN.

Weideling's current official position is vice president of partner management, where he develops channel strategy and programs. It is still unclear if he is stepping into the channel chief role on a permanent basis.

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[Related: Oracle Product Chief Thomas Kurian Resigns]

VMware told CRN that Swales will be reporting to Brandon Sweeney, senior vice president for Worldwide Commercial, Partner and Dell Sales & Operations.

The virtualization software leader couldn't immediately provide a title for Swales' new position. A VMware spokesperson only said he will focus on "several projects to drive the company's key growth initiatives, especially our global Commercial business."

Swales told CRN in a brief message that he'll be working on "global channel strategic projects" for VMware.

Oracle declined to comment on the change in channel leadership.

Swales came to Oracle in July of 2015 from Hewlett-Packard, where he was vice president of the hardware giant's industry standard server business in the Americas. He took over for Rich Geraffo after Geraffo was elevated to senior vice president of North America technology, hardware and public-sector sales.

About half a year later, in February of 2016, Oracle launched the largest channel program revamp in its history to better recognize, enable and reward partners for selling its cloud services.

When Swales first joined Oracle, the new channel chief did a "world tour" in which he talked to hundreds of Oracle's North American partners about what they felt was working, and what wasn't, said one Oracle partner, who asked to remain anonymous.

That partner said Swales digested that information and used it to build his initial channel strategy—one that proved successful in convincing Oracle's entire channel to focus on migrating customers' business applications and infrastructure to the cloud from on-premise implementations.

The hire is "a good move for VMware," the CEO for a large national solution provider, who did not want to be identified, told CRN. "Bill has worked at both Oracle and HP and is well respected in the channel. It's certainly a loss for Oracle – which is not as channel-friendly as VMware."

The CEO said Swales brings enterprise muscle to VMware as it looks to expand its VMware Cloud on AWS business.

Another source said Swales’ departure comes with Oracle's North American channel team being reduced significantly over the last several years.

At the Oracle OpenWorld conference last October, Swales told CRN that Oracle partners need to focus on differentiation, and effectively messaging what sets them apart.

"If a partner doesn't have a unique capability around an Oracle cloud offering, they're of less value to us," Swales said in October.

Swales' immediate replacement, Weideling, has climbed the ladder at Oracle since joining the company in 1994 as a sales manager in the Ohio area.

He became a partner alliance manager two years later, and since then, his career has entirely focused on the channel side of Oracle's business.

Swales’ departure comes a few months after Thomas Kurian, Oracle's president and product leader responsible for the software giant's cloud transformation strategy, confirmed he left the company. Kurian will take over leadership of the cloud business of Oracle rival Google.