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Dell Restructuring: OEM Execs Bryan Jones, Ron Pugh Depart

Partners say Pugh played an instrumental role in the OEM Solutions group’s partner and sell-through programs. ‘He never gets tired. He’s like the Terminator, in a good way,’ one says. Dell confirms that Pugh and Jones left in January as a result of a sales reorganization that happened last year.

Dell Technologies OEM executives Bryan Jones and Ron Pugh have left the company as part of a sales reorganization that happened last year.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company confirmed to CRN on Thursday that the restructuring resulted in the departures of Jones and Pugh, who both served in top leadership roles within the OEM Solutions group that is responsible for delivering custom, purpose-built infrastructure solutions for edge computing and IoT, among other kinds of applications that sit outside of traditional IT needs. They both finished at the end of January.

[Related: 30 Notable IT Executive Moves: January 2021]

Jones, a 22-year company veteran, was senior vice president and general manager of OEM Solutions, a business he took over in February 2018 from Joyce Mullen after she was promoted to global channel chief a few months before. Pugh, an 11-year company veteran, was vice president of North American sales for OEM Solutions and reported to Jones. 

Last year, Dell restructured its sales organization to drive more revenue through channel partners and promoted Kyle Dufresne, a 22-year company veteran, to take over OEM Solutions from Jones as the new senior vice president and general manager.

Bill Scannell, Dell’s president of global sales and customer operations, told CRN last August that the reorganization was done to support a new “One Dell Technologies” strategy with the goal of simplifying business with partners.

“Our partners keep telling us, ‘Hey, we want you to make it simple, predictable and profitable.’ And that’s our mantra. We want a simple, predictable and profitable channel organization to build off,” he said.

In an interview with CRNtv last December, Dufresne said only 25 percent of OEM Solutions sales are indirect now and that he wants to double that figure over the next few years, particularly to seize on growing opportunities in edge computing.

In an email to CRN, Jones said he stayed on for the last few months to help with the transition.

“We parted ways on the best of terms and I’m a big fan of Dell Technologies and where they’re going — I’ll be cheering them on from the sidelines,” he said. “After 22 years, it was time for me to go find my next professional challenge. I’m taking a little time off with my family before I jump back into something — we’re building a house and I’m doing some volunteer stuff for the vaccine rollout in my community.”

Pugh, in his email to CRN, said he had a “fabulous 11-year run working with an incredible team of professionals at a great company.” He added that he is now exploring “what opportunities are available in the industry and see if I can help build a great team for another technology/solutions organization.”

On LinkedIn, several colleagues and partners said they will miss Jones and Pugh, who both made a major impact in the OEM Solutions organization. Jeff Burgess, CEO of video data infrastructure vendor BCD International, said his only regret is “his ‘lifetime of knowing [Jones]’ has only been for two years.”

“It’s so much more than the shoes; it’s the person filling them. Will be greatly missed when he leaves Dell, but the bond is forever,” Burgess said on LinkedIn.

Brad Jens, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Contec Americas, a Melbourne, Fla.-based Dell OEM Gold Partner that mostly sells Dell-based solutions to medical device manufacturers, said “energy” is the first word that comes to mind for Pugh, who he worked for when he was at Dell.

“He never gets tired. He’s like the Terminator, in a good way,” he said. “Like, he’s going to pick up the phone at 11 o’clock if you need him. He’s going to put servers in his truck and drive them across the country to hit a deadline. Just a good manager and really customer-focused.”

Pugh was instrumental in the creation of Dell’s channel program for OEM solutions, according to Jens, in addition to building important alliances for the program.

“All these partnerships that they have with the broader channel — Arrow, Avnet — he brought all that to the table,” he said. “Because he that’s where he came from. All those guys are his people.”

Jens said he was surprised to hear Pugh was leaving because he’s been “such bedrock of the success that they’ve had there.”

“The business seemed to be performing extremely well over a long period of time, and normally you don’t see someone leave willingly from a situation like that,” he said.

Darren Waldrep, director of strategic alliances in North America at Toronto-based Converge Technology Solutions, No. 50 on CRN’s 2020 Solution Provider 500 list, said Pugh played a critical role in making Dell’s OEM business more channel friendly.

Waldrep had started working with Dell on OEM solutions at Datatrend Technologies, which Converge acquired in 2019. At the time, Datatrend was looking for a new OEM after IBM sold its x86 server business to Lenovo in 2014, and Waldrep said he had some apprehension about starting a partnership with Dell because it had a reputation for not always being partner friendly.

But Pugh “was just completely open arms” and helped smooth things over, he added.

“They’ve made a lot of strides over the years,” Waldrep said. “And both Michael [Dell] and Ron hit that head on and said, ‘yeah, we’ve got a culture to turn around, but we’re doing it, it’s important to us, the channel is extremely important,’ so Ron was really an internal advocate for that.”

Waldrep said Jones has also played a significant role in multiple projects, including an IoT-related one for a hospitality customer across multiple hotels in North America, Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Bryan Jones was very instrumental in helping advise us and get things approved for us to be that lead Dell OEM partner and to really help make that a reality,” he said.

Jim Sullivan, president and CEO of Waltham, Mass.-based NWN, No. 80 on the SP 500, said Pugh was instrumental in developing Dell’s unique OEM sell-through program, where partners develop solutions based on Dell hardware and then tap Dell’s sales force to help sell the products. Sullivan had worked with Dell on the sell-through program though his prior company, Actifio, and NWN is now preparing its solution.

“He was a very good consensus builder, collaborator, problem solver, to ultimately drive business success for customers, Dell and the partner,” he said.

Sullivan agreed with the other partners that Pugh is a big advocate for the channel.

“He always had the partners’ interest as a priority and was really well plugged into Dell, so he could really make things happen and get things done,” he said.

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