Cobalt Iron Hires Channel ‘Visionary’ Rodney Foreman From Nutanix

‘I’m looking forward to announcing a new channel program that I feel will be the most innovative program in the software industry today,’ says Cobalt Iron’s new chief revenue officer and sales leader, Rodney Foreman.


Data protection standout Cobalt Iron has hired Nutanix’s former channel leader, Rodney Foreman, as its new chief revenue officer—and he told CRN he has big plans ahead, including launching a new channel program by the end of the year.

“Based on what I learned at Nutanix and IBM, we can raise the bar in the channel on what a program should be,” said Foreman in an interview with CRN. “That program will support all types of partners across our partner ecosystem and deliver the right rewards, initiatives and business models supporting every partner type but in a different fashion than what you would traditionally see in the market. I’m looking forward to announcing a new channel program that I feel will be the most innovative program in the software industry today.”

Foreman previously was vice president of global channel sales at hyper-converged infrastructure pioneer Nutanix, helping craft a new Partner Charter. He departed the hyper-converged company in April. Foreman also spent 20 years at IBM and IBM Global Services from 1996 to 2016, where he held various channel roles such as director of channel sales for IBM’s cloud and smart infrastructure sales.

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[Related: Juniper Channel Leader Heads To Nutanix To Drive ‘Partner Simplicity’]

In addition to taking over the CRO reins, Foreman is responsible for all sales initiatives at Cobalt Iron including direct and indirect sales channels.

Chris Dedham, solution architect for Mainline Information Systems, a Tallahassee, Fla.-based Cobalt Iron partner, said he has high hopes that Foreman will help revamp Cobalt Iron’s channel strategy.

“Rodney is a visionary,” said Dedham. “Hyper-converged has been a major investment consideration for a lot of companies. He sees Cobalt Iron as the next big move where companies need to be leveraging the analytics and automation to manage complex, intense operations like data protection and data management. I think he sees the value in that. It’s a perfect marriage because he’s got the pedigree for enabling channel partners to consume this innovative technology, and that’s what you need. You need somebody who has the experience but also believes in the vision. It’s a really great fit.”

Foreman has a global software sales and product management background with more than two decades of experience in the industry. The new CRO said he sees a huge opportunity to take Cobalt Iron to the next level from a global sales perspective.

“I see an outstanding opportunity in that we can leverage the channel to really get the word out on this incredible product and allow the partners to benefit and make a recurring revenue stream because it’s SaaS-based. [We have an opportunity to] to really explode our results and make this not a secret anymore,” said Foreman. “We have the best data protection product in the market. They just needed some help from a leadership perspective, and I’ll bring that to the table as chief revenue officer.”

Foreman said expects the new channel program to be unveiled by the end of 2019. He also plans to create a new channel chief position that will report to him.

“Our program will be more innovative in terms of how we support the partners in their journey to deliver business outcomes for the customers and reward them for that on an ongoing basis, not just a one-time basis but an ongoing basis so that they reap the benefits of recurring revenue,” Foreman said.

Cobalt Iron founder and CEO Richard Spurlock said he added the CRO position to become more agile and better leverage channel partners to extend the company’s market reach. “Rodney is known in the software industry as a leader that drives transformation within software companies in order to deliver results, capture market share, and win new customers. He develops growth strategies and operational processes and empowers people to drive the business and grow revenue with a focus on customer success,” he said.

Overall, Foreman said he brings top-level channel experience working for fast-growing Nutanix as well as IBM to his role at Cobalt Iron.

“I plan to take those lessons learned and provide a unique and innovative program at Cobalt Iron that’s unmatched in the industry in terms of the marketing platform we provide, skills and training initiatives, the sales and support,” he said. “Then reward partners so that they’re very profitable selling our products in the market. I’m very excited and honored to be here.”