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HPE North America Leader Dan Belanger Unexpectedly Steps Down, Channel Chief Paul Hunter To Replace Him

“Dan was a friend to the channel and customers,” said Steve Tepedino, president and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner based in Tempe, Ariz. “His leadership was rock solid. He will be sorely missed. ... Paul has some big shoes to fill, but I’m confident he can do it.”

Hewlett Packard Enterprise North America Managing Director Dan Belanger, a highly respected 30-year HPE sales leader who boosted the company’s U.S. partner offensive, is unexpectedly stepping down and being replaced by Worldwide Channel Chief Paul Hunter.

“With over 25 years of experience at the company, Paul has consistently demonstrated a keen awareness of customer needs, effective leadership skills, and the drive to push for better,” said HPE Chief Sales Officer Heiko Meyer in a blog post announcing the changing of the guard. “Most recently, he served as the Worldwide Head of Partner Sales, exemplifying our culture and focus on delivering our edge-to-cloud platform strategy.”

Meyer said Hunter (pictured) has been instrumental in HPE’s pivot to making the transition to an edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service powerhouse.

“With over 700 partners now selling HPE GreenLake cloud services, he has shown strong leadership and brought a fresh perspective to the organization,” Meyer said. “His experience in moving partners from a transactional to a more strategic business outcome model is our future. He is well-prepared to drive value for our customers, partners, and sales teams, and I am confident in his ability to drive our business forward.”

Hunter was rated by CRN as the No. 1 channel sales leader in 2019 and the No. 2 channel sales leader in 2020 in it’s annual Top 100 Executives list.

HPE is currently searching for a replacement for Hunter, who was unavailable for comment.

Belanger has headed up HPE’s North America business for the last three years. That entails full profit and loss responsibility, overseeing 3,500 employees.

Partners said they were stunned by the sudden departure of Belanger but are looking forward to working closely with channel stalwart Hunter in his new role.

“Dan was a friend to the channel and customers,” said Steve Tepedino, president and CEO of IT Partners, an HPE Platinum partner based in Tempe, Ariz. “His leadership was rock solid. He will be sorely missed. We are all going to miss Dan. Paul has some big shoes to fill, but I’m confident he can do it.”

Tepedino credited Hunter for his “stellar” channel leadership and for driving GreenLake pay-per-use platform-as-a-service momentum. “Paul has done a great job with the channel. I look for continued strong leadership from him as he takes the North America job.”

Paul Cohen, vice president of sales for New York-based PKA Technologies, one of HPE‘s top Platinum partners, congratulated Hunter on the North America appointment and credited the 18-year HPE veteran—who has overseen the worldwide channel for the last three years—with making big strides in the GreenLake pay per use channel model.

“A big shout out to Paul on the appointment,” said Cohen. “He is obviously a big supporter and friend of many years to the channel. We are very excited about working with him in his new role.”

Cohen said Hunter laid the foundation for GreenLake channel sales growth by pioneering the GreenLake 3.0 channel friendly version of the pay per use program.

“Paul’s contribution was very important in the evolution of GreenLake,” said Cohen. “He really helped pave the way for the channel to participate in a consumption model. That has allowed us to compete against public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services.”

Hunter—who was former HPE CEO Meg Whitman’s chief of staff before taking the worldwide channel job in October 2017—started his career at HP as a district manager for financial services in October 2002. He also spent time as an HPE business unit leader in the United Kingdom for the personal systems and printer group of HP.

Partners credited Belanger’s sales leadership and competitive drive for increasing partner and customer satisfaction in North America.

“Dan understood both partners and customers and the role HPE played in driving customer success,” said Tepedino. “He was totally focused on the customer. When Dan was in front of a customer you felt the connection.”

PKA’s Cohen said Belanger is simply one of the top sales leaders he has ever worked with in 30 years in the business.

“Dan Belanger is the consummate sales professional,” said Cohen, a former HPE executive who worked under Belanger for four years and has teamed with him to drive sales at PKA for the last three years. “Dan is a longtime friend of the channel going way back. I respect him personally and professionally. I am very sorry to see him go. I wish him the best of luck in whatever he does next. I am sure he is going to kill it.”

There were countless times that Belanger went the extra mile to help PKA close a deal. “Dan always stepped up when we needed him to help close one deal after another,” he said. “He always went the extra mile to ensure both customer and partner satisfaction.”

Partners also credited Belanger—who came to HPE as a Compaq global sales leader in 2002—for driving a tight collaboration between partners and the HPE direct sales team. They said the sales veteran brought a strong and steady hand to HPE’s North America business with a relentless focus on customer satisfaction.

Among Belanger’s achievments cited on his LinkedIn profile are that he was the first North America leader in five years to over-perform on the top and bottom line and double digit growth in key product categories.

In addition, Belanger was a major proponent of diversity in the North America organization exceeding diversity goals, hitting a 40 percent mark for the North America leadership team.

In his blog post, Meyer said Belanger was instrumental in accelerating HPE’s “mission as a company, and his leadership, dedication to customers, and passion for winning will be greatly missed.”

As for HPE’s customer and partner commitment going forward, Meyer said: “We remain committed to putting our customers and partners at the center of what we do, and look forward to continuing to serve them.”

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