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HPE Channel ‘Superstar’ Jas Sood Is Jumping To Palo Alto Networks

‘Jas was a huge asset to the channel community, her sales teams and HPE in general,’ says Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE’s top Platinum partners. ‘She has been a highly respected HPE executive for 26 years...Whenever we had a specific issue Jas would jump in at a moment’s notice.’

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Vice President Jas Sood, a 26-year HPE veteran who heads up the North America storage and compute business, is taking a job as senior vice president of enterprise sales for Palo Alto Networks.

Sood, who as vice president and general manager of North America Infrastructure business had P&L responsibility for North America storage, servers, high performance compute and services, is a fierce channel advocate and seasoned sales veteran always ready to help close deals, partners said. She was named to CRN’s Power 100 Women Of The Channel list in May.

HPE confirmed that Sood is leaving the company and Palo Alto also confirmed her hiring.

Sood — who will report to Palo Alto Networks President of Worldwide Sales Rick Congdon — joins the network security kingpin as it moves to boost its sales game in the wake of intense competition in the extended detection and response (XDR) market versus Crowdstrike.

“Jas Sood will be joining Palo Alto Networks as SVP of Enterprise Sales to support the continued growth of the company and our ability to better serve our diverse customer needs,” Congdon said in a prepared statement. “She has deep enterprise technology experience and we look forward to her contributions.”

Palo Alto CEO Nikesh Arora complained on the company’s latest earnings call that CrowdStrike has eight times more dedicated salespeople chasing the SDR category, neutralizing whatever technical advantage Palo Alto Networks brings to the table.

Sood’s appointment comes at the same time that Congdon announced that Chad Gardner — a one-time Palo Alto Networks employee — is rejoining Palo Alto Networks as vice president of global SASE sales. Gardner is another channel-savvy leader, having spent four years as executive vice president of worldwide sales and marketing for SP 500 powerhouse Denali Advanced Integration.

“Jas was a huge asset to the channel community, her sales teams and HPE in general,” said Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE’s top Platinum partners. “She has been a highly respected HPE executive for 26 years.”

Sood played a critical role in helping build a “mutual go-to-market strategy” with PKA, said Cohen. “Whenever we had a specific issue Jas would jump in at a moment’s notice — without hesitation — to help put out the fire and support PKA and the customer. I sincerely wish her all the best in her new role.”

Scott Dunsire, CEO of ACP CreativIT, No. 119 on the 2021 CRN Solution Provider 500, a top HPE and Palo Alto Networks partner, said he sees Sood’s appointment as a channel game changer for Palo Alto Networks.

“HPE’s loss is Palo Alto’s gain,” said Dunsire. “Jas brings a seasoned channel perspective to Palo Alto Networks. What makes Jas great is she is always willing to roll up her sleeves to get things done on behalf of partners. Jas is a doer and a great communicator. She is a channel superstar!”

Dunsire said he expects Sood’s appointment to have a significant impact helping partners close deals. “Jas is always there, ready to help partners move the ball forward and get deals done,” he said. “These security deals are complex and sometimes you need executive support. You need executives like Jas that can make decisions, move agendas forward and get things done. Half of the battle is getting partner mind share. Having confidence that someone is there to support us is going to make a big difference in what solutions we recommend to our customers.”

Sood is set to team at Palo Alto Networks with one-time colleague Sal Maita, a 10-year HPE veteran and former HPE Director of Storage Channel Sales North America. Maita joined Pal Alto Networks as director of go-to-market hardware in January.

Sood — who is also member of the board of directors for Ondas Networks Inc., a wireless networking company — started at HP within the Agilent Technologies business in 1995 as a senior financial analyst and worked her way up, making her mark in one job after another.

Among her many roles at HPE were as head of the SMB business for HPE where partners credited her with driving big gains and channel momentum with a 100 percent channel sales model.

Sood was also a perennial on CRN’s Power 100 Top Women In The Channel list for her many achievements as a sales leader including major improvements in account mapping and joint sales planning with partners.

One sign of Sood’s impact at HPE was winning the HPE North America “YODA” award for her achievements in breaking barriers and implementing change. “I believe I won this award because I am willing to speak my point of view on what changes need to happen to support and improve the business,” said Sood in a CRN Women of the Channel profile. “And while I can make those suggestions, I also am able to implement and see them through.”

Rob Schaeffer, president of Orange, Calif.-based CBT, an HPE Platinum partner, said Sood’s wide and deep expertise across all segments of the business from finance to sales is a big coup for Palo Alto Networks.

“Jas is a very unique executive in that she has over a 26 year career at HPE had multiple job responsibilities with multiple divisions,” he said. “She understands all aspects of the business from finance to product to sales. She has had a very well-rounded career at HPE and has delivered every step of the way. It’s an unfortunate loss for HPE, but a wonderful gain for Palo Alto Networks.”

Schaeffer said Sood’s channel expertise is going to provide a big sales boost to Palo Alto Networks. “Jas has an understanding of the channel that is key to success for manufacturers,” he said. “She realizes that the channel creates customers for life whereas OEMs tend to work in 13-week quarters. The channel lives and works in lifetime horizons with customers. From my perspective she understands the scope and scale of what the channel brings to the table from VARs to systems integrators to ISVs. It is a community that allows manufacturers not just to maintain relationships with current customers but to expand their footprint across many industries and verticals, opening up new markets.”

Additional reporting by Michael Novinson

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