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HPE Channel Stalwart Terry Richardson Is Retiring

“Terry was an amazing advocate for partners and customers,” said Paul O’Dell, a director at CPP Associates, a Clinton, N.J. HPE Platinum partner and winner of HPE’s U.S. North America Solution Provider of the Year award in 2019. “Terry has been a very good friend and advocate since I met him 10 years ago. I wish him nothing but the best wherever his journey takes him next.”

Terry Richardson, an 11-year Hewlett Packard Enterprise channel stalwart, is retiring as vice president and general manager of the U.S. East Enterprise business effective Jan. 31.

Richardson is being replaced by Joe Ayers, who is the current vice president and general manager of the federal enterprise group at HPE. Ayers—a West Point graduate and former U.S. Army officer and aviator—joined HPE in 2013 after 13 years at HPE rival Dell Technologies.

Partners told CRN that they were disappointed that Richardson is moving on after a long, distinguished career helping partners in the enterprise sales trenches.

“Terry was an amazing advocate for partners and customers,” said Paul O’Dell, a director at CPP Associates, a Clinton, N.J. HPE Platinum partner and winner of HPE’s U.S. North America Solution Provider of the Year award in 2019. “Terry has been a very good friend and advocate since I met him 10 years ago. I wish him nothing but the best wherever his journey takes him next.”

Richardson was the kind of executive that stepped up time and time again to help partners out in a crises, said O’Dell. “Some people run away when there is a problem,” he said. “Terry ran to the fire when there was a channel problem and helped us to resolve it.”

When the pandemic hit, impacting the global supply chain, it was Richardson who took to the phone with CPP Associates to ease customer concerns, said O’Dell.

O’Dell said he is looking forward to meeting Ayers and working with him to help drive sales growth at CPP, which posted double-digit HPE sales growth in the most recent fiscal year and expects to repeat that performance this year. “The GreenLake pipeline continues to build for us,” he said.

HPE North America Managing Director Paul Hunter Monday informed HPE North America employees of Richardson’s impending retirement in an email to the North America team.

“After 11 years at HPE, Terry Richardson has decided to retire at the end of January,” Hunter said in the email. “Terry has brought a wealth of experience and capability to the many roles he has held over his time at HPE, most recently successfully leading the U.S. East region through a turbulent year. Terry has worked passionately to make HPE a better company. His dedication has earned the trust of our partners, customers and people. We will miss him and wish him well as he begins this new chapter.”

In a statement provided to CRN, Hunter said he is excited to have Ayers take over the U.S. East Region as the company kicks off 2021.

“[Ayers] has a proven track record leading the U.S. Public Sector organization, where he has been at the forefront of some of our landmark wins; he brings the passion, experience and expertise to drive success in the U.S. East Region,” Hunter said. “Our channel partners can expect a smooth transition and rest assured they have a true HPE partner in Joe.”

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE’s top Platinum enterprise partners, said in his three years heading up sales at PKA there has been no bigger channel advocate than Richardson.

“When you look up channel advocate and channel leadership in the dictionary it says: ‘See Terry Richardson,’” said Cohen, who also worked under Richardson as a channel district manager for HPE for four years. “Terry is the consummate professional. He always provided the right guidance for both channel partners and his employees. He is surely going to be missed at HPE.”

Cohen said it will be hard to match Richardson’s expertise driving sales with deep knowledge of enterprise compute, the storage market and the channel. “Terry raised the bar, helping us close sales day in and day out,” said Cohen. “I wish him well in whatever he chooses to do next. And I’m looking forward to working with Joe Ayers.”

Steve Tepedino, president and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner based in Tempe, Ariz, said Richardson’s channel leadership will be sorely missed.

“Terry has been not only a friend to the channel, but a personal friend to a lot of us all the years he has been at HPE,” said Tepedino. “He has been such a big part of what I feel is our success in the channel from his days as channel chief to the head of the East Region. He will be sorely missed. I am happy for him if he is retiring and can go on to do something different that he can be excited about. But I am sad for HPE and us because we will miss him.”

That said, Tepedino praised Ayers as a proven leader who will do a great job as head of the East region. “Joe is a great guy,” he said. “HPE won’t miss a beat with Joe who has done a great job in the federal market. Joe will do just fine, but you can’t replace someone like Terry. It is hard to do. We’ll miss him.”

Richardson started his career at Hewlett Packard Inc. —before the company split in two —as the director of the HP server OEM business. After only six months, he moved to vice president of U.S. Storage Channel and Emerging Growth Storage Accounts.

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, North America, 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 Competition as the most popular channel chief.

Richardson’s departure comes just 11 weeks after HPE Enterprise Vice President and General Manager of North America Storage Andrew Manners, a highly respected 20-year HPE veteran, left the company.

“Executives like Terry and Andrew Manners have long-standing relationships with partners, so when they leave it hurts,” said the CEO for a top HPE enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified. “Having those high-level channel relationships is important when you have an issue and you need to escalate. That kind of turnover is not good.”

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