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AMD Nabs HPE Channel Superstar Terry Richardson: Exclusive

AMD has hired 11-year Hewlett Packard Enterprise veteran Terry Richardson as its North America channel chief, a role that puts him in charge of all of the chipmaker’s partner relationships for commercial sales of CPUs and GPUs through server and PC OEMs as well as distributors. ‘It presented an opportunity to really define the ultimate channel go-to-market strategy,’ Richardson tells CRN.

AMD has hired former Hewlett Packard Enterprise channel superstar Terry Richardson to lead commercial channel sales in North America as the chipmaker doubles down on solution provider partners to ramp up competition against Intel and Nvidia. 

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has hired Richardson as its North America channel chief, a role that puts the 11-year HPE veteran in charge of all partner relationships—from distributors to national solution providers and other kinds of resellers—for commercial sales of CPUs and GPUs through server and PC OEMs, AMD exclusively told CRN. Richardson also now oversees AMD’s commercial components channel, which includes systems integrators and white-box system builders.

[Related: How AMD Plans To Win Over Solution Providers For PCs And Servers]

Richardson joined AMD March 1.

In an interview with CRN, Richardson called being selected for the job an “honor” and said that he looks forward to connecting with partners and building out AMD’s North American channel. His responsibilities include building out the North American channel team, implementing programs and enhancing channel relationships across the ecosystem in tandem with AMD’s OEM partners, which include HPE, Dell Technologies and Lenovo.

“When I was approached by AMD, I really was struck by a couple of things. One was their commitment to the channel from [CEO] Lisa Su on down, a strong executive commitment,” he said. “And it presented an opportunity to really define the ultimate channel go-to-market strategy and to come in and really have a big impact on leveraging channel partnerships to drive and accelerate the company’s growth, [for] current and future products. I thought that the AMD offerings were really compelling and well-positioned today to really address some of our customers’ most demanding and critical workloads.”

Partners told CRN that AMD’s decision to hire Richardson to lead commercial channel sales in North America gives the chipmaker instant credibility and will help it continue to gain market share against Intel, which has a substantial lead over AMD in both market share and long-standing channel relationships. AMD finished 2020 with a 6.2-point increase in overall x86 market share against Intel over the previous year, bringing its share total to 21.7 percent, according to Mercury Research. It is also taking on lead GPU maker Nvidia with its own slate of client and data center GPU products.

“Terry has got the most channel credibility of anyone out there among channel partners,” said Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, No. 429 on the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500 list. “He has a unique blend of enterprise sales experience as well as channel management experience. This is a big deal for AMD. Terry is very influential in the channel community. By hiring Terry, AMD is clearly sending a message of respect to the channel.”

The hiring of Richardson comes a few months after AMD CEO Lisa Su said in an exclusive interview with CRN that channel partners represent the company’s “largest growth opportunity.” At the same time, AMD executives detailed previously unreported plans to expand its channel footprint, which included doubling market development funds, channel staff and funded positions for top solution provider partners this year.

“I think the channel is just a big opportunity for us. It’s really a matter of ensuring that as we scale as a company, we put resources into the channel to support all of the activities there, and I’m very excited about the possibilities,” Su told CRN in an interview late last year.

Richardson has joined the sales division of AMD’s Datacenter and Embedded Solutions Group, which is led by former Dell server executive Forrest Norrod. Richardson reports to Jason Mooneyham, a former Lenovo executive who is corporate vice president of Americas sales, and to Paul Morris, an Intel and HPE veteran who is senior director of North American sales.

While the business unit Richardson is joining encompasses AMD’s EPYC server processors, he also has purview over commercial channel sales for the company’s PC processors, which includes the Ryzen Pro CPUs for commercial PCs, as well as its client and data center GPUs.

Richardson retired in January as HPE’s vice president and general manager of the U.S. East Enterprise business. He had started his career at Hewlett Packard Inc. in 2010—before the company split in two—as the director of the HP server OEM business. He then became vice president of U.S. storage channel and emerging growth storage accounts six months later.

In November 2012, Richardson became vice president of channel sales and worked steadily with partners driving sales growth, culminating in his appointment as vice president of North American channel and alliances. Richardson made his mark as a respected channel chief, becoming what one partner called a “constant friend to the channel” when he won the 2017 CRN Channel Madness Tournament as the most popular channel chief.

At HPE, Richardson was critical in bringing partners the right incentives, support and sales assistance to drive sales growth, according to Rich Baldwin, chief strategy officer and chief information officer for San Diego-based Nth Generation, No. 297 on the CRN 2020 Solution Provider 500.

“Terry got us sales help at the highest levels,” he said. “He knows how to make connections and help us win the big deals. He would do whatever it takes to get the right resource out to the field to talk to the customer. He knows what it’s like to be on our side of the fence.”

Richardson, who worked at EMC and Data General earlier in his career, said he vows to be “very visible and open” in his team’s communications about partner plans.

“A big part of what I’ll do in addition to learning about [this] company and the great people and offerings is to listen carefully to the partners themselves and then build a plan that addresses their needs and continue to focus on what I believe in, which are win-win partnerships,” said. “And in this case, it won’t just be a singular effort, AMD with the partner. Oftentimes it will include some of the world’s largest OEM partners, like Dell, HPE, Cisco and others.”

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