HP Networking Taps Veteran Exec As Americas Sales VP

Kevin Hooper, a well-known sales vice president at HP, has taken a new post running Americas sales for HP's all-important Networking unit, CRN has learned.

Hooper, most recently HP vice president, emerging growth accounts, enterprise business sales, has been named vice president of HP Networking sales, Americas. It appears to be a newly created position within HP Networking, though Hooper will continue to report to Randy Seidl, senior vice president, Americas for HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage & Networking (ESSN) unit.

Reached by CRN, an HP spokesperson confirmed Hooper's new title and his reporting to Seidl. HP declined to provide additional details on Hooper's role, but the spokesperson said the roles of established HP Networking executives like Bethany Mayer, senior vice president and general manager, HP Networking; Armughan Ahmad, vice president, Americas Channel Sales, HP Networking; and Mike Banic, vice president of marketing, HP Networking, have not changed.

The growth of HP Networking is crucial as HP challenges Cisco's long-held networking marketing supremacy and the two tech giants lock horns over customer spend in the data center.

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HP Networking grew 12 percent year-over-year in 2011, and Mayer recently told CRN that HP partners should expect a much greater emphasis this year on partner incentives specific to HP Networking. HP in December rolled out a number of new channel incentives designed to reward more HP Networking partners and especially those HP partners that sold across the technology giant's portfolio.

HP sources also told CRN that HP Networking received a substantial operating budget increase for 2012, blessed by new CEO Meg Whitman. Mayer declined to reveal exact financial details but told CRN her team has more resources than ever to play with -- and would hire for the unit, as well.

"I can't confirm the number, but all of the resources I request, I get," Mayer said in January. "Meg Whitman is absolutely supportive of HP Networking and is a very strong salesperson for HP Networking. She's out there talking a lot about us."

Into that powder keg atmosphere comes Hooper, known by partners for his aggressive attitude toward sales and channel advocacy.

"Anything Kevin Hooper touches turns to gold," said John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations and marketing for Denali Advanced Integration, one of HP's top enterprise partners headquartered in Redmond, Wash. "Partners love him because he gets results. He's someone you can trust with industry knowledge. The appointment shows that HP appreciates his leadership."

Denali's HP networking business is growing, said Convery, with what he called a robust "pipeline" of potential deals. He praised HP for working hand in hand with partners like Denali on innovative programs to win new HP networking business.

Hooper came to HP in 2007 following several years as a top channel marketing manager at IBM. At the time of his exit, Hooper was IBM's vice president, worldwide business partner strategy.

Steve Burke contributed to this article.