DiFranco Will Look At Both External, Internal Candidates For HP Channel Chief Job

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Stephen DiFranco, who is giving up his job as HP channel chief to take a high-level position within HP's personal systems group, said Monday he will look both at external and internal candidates for his replacement.

DiFranco said he decided not to make a decision on a successor in order to get feedback from channel partners on just what they want to see in the new executive, who will oversee the biggest and broadest channel in the information technology business.

"I am taking some time over the next few months to look at the channel team we have and start to make a choice on a successor," said DiFranco, who will name his own replacement. "I have chosen not to do that quickly. I did that mostly because I wanted the channel to have some time to interact with me on what they are looking for from a channel leader."

DiFranco, who was named senior vice president and general manager for the Americas region of the Personal Systems Group in an executive reshuffling announced Monday aimed at boosting HP's WebOS based TouchPad business, will continue in both roles until he names a replacement.

DiFranco's decision to look at external candidates opens the door for HP to consider seasoned channel executives from competitors, including Chris Frey, North America channel chief for Lenovo, who worked closely with DiFranco during DiFranco's two year tenure at Lenovo; and Cisco channel stalwarts Keith Goodwin and Edison Peres, the networking leader's top two channel executives.

Despite opening the door to external candidates, DiFranco said that is "not at all a reflection of my bench."

"I think I have a great bench," he said. "I just want to make this choice in collaboration with the partners whom it impacts. I am looking forward to hearing their thoughts and what they would like to see in the next channel leaders and we'll go make a good decision."

DiFranco would not put any self imposed deadline on gathering feedback from channel partners or picking a new channel chief. "I will make the choice when it is the right time to make the choice," he said.

Next: Should HP Go Outside Or Inside For New Channel Chief?

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