Dell Shakes Up U.S. Management Team, Names New Channel Chief

Dell appointed a new president of North America and a new vice president of global channels as part of a management shake-up, the first since its $24.9 billion private equity buyout.

Bill Rodrigues, former vice president and general manager of global business, was named president of Dell North America, a $24 billion business. Rodrigues, a 14-year Dell veteran, replaces Paul Henri Ferrand, a nine-year Dell veteran who has held the post for the past 16 months.

Cheryl Cook, former vice president of enterprise solutions, meanwhile, was named vice president of global channels and alliances, replacing longtime worldwide channel chief Greg Davis, who started the official Dell channel program nearly seven years ago and helped build it into a $15 billion business.

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Davis is moving on to a new role as vice president of software and peripherals at Dell.

In an email to partners with the subject line "Streamlining Our Operations, Accelerating Our Growth," Davis called the changes the "next step in our growth together," moving the "channel sales organization deeper into Dell's regional organizational structure."

"Our regional channel leaders will continue in their present roles but will now report to regional Dell sales leadership," continued Davis in the email to partners. "This means they will be able to integrate more closely with our sales and product teams, which will allow for faster feedback between partners and business unit leaders."

The shake-up puts both direct and indirect sales under one organization as part of an all-out offensive to ameliorate channel conflict and boost channel sales as Dell grows its enterprise solutions footprint.

"This will eliminate a lot of the direct versus indirect confrontations that happen in the sales trenches with Dell," said one source, referring to the shake-up as a "consolidation of roles."

"They are driving a more consistent sales model in support of the channel," said the source.

Frank Vitagliano, vice president of North America global commercial channels, select sales channels, and Jim DeFoe, vice president of Dell North America global commercial channels, nationally managed partners under the Large Value Added Reseller program, who both previously reported to Davis, will now report to Rodrigues.

One source close to Dell, who did not want to be identified, said he sees the restructuring as the first of many changes to come now that Dell is a private company. He said he expects Dell to tighten its belt and rely even more heavily on partners going forward as it steps up its enterprise solutions march.

"They are selling end-to-end solutions and are integrating 30 acquisitions," said the source. "You can't possibly get a return on those acquisitions without the channel. The channel is becoming a much more important aspect of how Dell goes to market as they build out their enterprise portfolio and reduce head count."

Rodrigues was hired by Dell in March 1999 as a vice president and general manager to head the company's K-12 education business. Before Dell, Rodrigues spent 21 years at IBM, ending his career there as general manager for global education in North America.

Cook, who will report to Dell Chief Commercial Officer and President of Enterprise Solutions Marius Haas, joined Dell after a one-year stint as senior vice president of Americas Sales for Dragon speech-recognition maker Nuance Communications. Before that, Cook spent four years at Sun Microsystems, including as head of senior vice president of global accounts.

Among the executives now reporting to Cook are Bob Skelley, executive director of partner programs; Alan Fenton, executive director of distribution and merger and acquisition integration; and Joyce Mullen, vice president of OEM solutions.