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Sources: Lenovo Channel Leader Is Out, Avaya’s Steve Biondi Steps In

‘Steve [Biondi] brings more credibility to Lenovo’s channel. He knows the industry and the technology. People know he’s a channel guy and trust him,’ says Mike VanGieson, executive vice president for Synnex.

Lenovo’s North American data center channel leader, Stefan Bockhop, is leaving after a 15-year stint with the company, according to multiple sources. Bockhop will be replaced by 30-year industry veteran Steve Biondi (pictured) who has held various top channel and sales roles for the likes of Avaya, Oracle, VMware and IBM.

When contacted, Lenovo said it does not comment on rumors or speculations in regard to Bockhop’s departure. However, the company did confirm the hiring of Biondi, saying, “We are excited to have Steve on our team.”

Mike VanGieson, executive vice president of North American product marketing for IT distributor Synnex, said Biondi is a “first-class” leader who will “without a doubt” boost Lenovo’s data center channel partners.

“Steve brings more credibility to Lenovo’s channel. He knows the industry and the technology. People know he’s a channel guy and trust him,” said VanGieson, who has known Biondi since the late 1990s. “From a channel point of view, this is great news. From us as a distributor, he’s somebody that I feel good about bringing to the big customers and bringing to big events. That’s the biggest thing he brings -- there’s a lot of people who know the technology, but he’s an industry veteran that people trust and he brings credibility to the units.”

[Related: 8 Biggest Data Center Trends And Technologies To Watch For In 2020]

Lenovo confirmed that Biondi is now head of partnerships and channels for Lenovo’s North American Data Center Group. Bockhop is currently executive director and Lenovo’s North American Data Center Group channel leader.

Biondi has an extensive history working for large vendors in top executive channel and sales roles. He worked at IBM for nearly 20 years in various executive positions including vice president of hardware sales for SMB and midmarket in the Americas. He joined VMware in 2009 as vice president, OEM and strategic partner sales for the Americas.

After short executive stints with Micro Focus and Oracle, he took on the global channel chief and SMB sales leadership position for Avaya in 2015, responsible for 75 percent of the company’s global revenue, according to his LinkedIn profile. He currently serves as an advisory board member for Lumia Capital and CNE Direct Inc.

Bockhop has been a key figurehead for Lenovo’s channel business over the years and is typically a keynote speaker at partner-focused events.

Bockhop joined Lenovo in 2005 as director of business partner channels in Canada, leading the company’s channel charge in the country for 12 years before being promoted to head Lenovo’s entire data center channel business in North America. Prior to Lenovo, Bockhop had a long career working for IBM in various sales positions.

VanGieson said he was excited to hear the news that Biondi was joining Lenovo. “He is always a first-class guy,” he said. “Everybody likes him and he gets along with everybody. He’s smart and knows the channel. This is a very good hire for Lenovo.”

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