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VMware Confirms Flinders Is Out As Channel Chief; Former Cisco Exec Sandy Hogan Takes Over

After spending two years completely overhauling VMware’s partner program and channel strategy, Jenni Flinders has unexpectedly left VMware as its global channel chief.

VMware’s global channel chief, Jenni Flinders, unexpectedly and quietly left the virtualization superstar last month after two years leading the company’s restructured channel charge, VMware confirmed to CRN.

“Jenni Flinders, VMware’s global channel chief, has made a personal career decision to leave the company, effective June 11,” said VMware in a statement to CRN. “Over the last two years, Jenni contributed her expertise to revamping the global partner organization, including the successful launch of Partner Connect. We thank Jenni for her passion and commitment and wish her well. Sandy Hogan, senior vice president of Worldwide Commercial and Partner Sales, will lead the Worldwide Partner Organization.”

The news of Flinders’ departure comes at the same time Dell Technologies -- which owns a majority stake in VMware – announced that its own global channel chief Joyce Mullen will be leaving the company next month.

Several VMware partners CRN reached out to said they were not aware of Flinders’ departure, nor did they have any interaction with VMware’s global channel chief during her two-year tenure.

[Related: Dell’s Bill Scannell On Finding A New Channel Chief And His ‘110 Percent’ Commitment To Partnersv]

“I haven’t heard anything about it. I’ve never interacted with Jenni,” said a top executive from a solution provider located in the Midwest and is one of VMware’s top partners in the U.S., who declined to be identified. The solution provider has won numerous VMware partner awards for both the Americas and globally over the past several years and has been highlighted by VMware on stage multiple times during conferences such as VMworld. “We’re a huge VMware partner and shop,” the executive said. “It says a lot that I haven’t even spoken to her.”

Flinders was hired as vice president and global channel chief for VMware in April 2018, after spending 15 years in various channel partner and sales executive roles at Microsoft from 2000 to 2015. She hit the ground running at VMware, almost immediately introducing VMware Master Services Competencies and letting the VMware partner community know of her plans to completely overhaul VMware’s “entire partner program.”

On March 1, 2020, VMware launched its new program Partner Connect, which dramatically changed the way VMware engages and incentivizes its thousands of channel partners across the globe.

However, one top executive from a solution provider said the new program ultimately made him leave VMware’s channel partner community.

“The whole, ‘Listen, you need to reapply as a partner, there’s whole new terms you have to agree with and hoops you have to jump through, bad IP agreements – all of that stuff, it’s just wasn’t friendly,” said the top executive from a solution provider who was previously a VMware partner for years, but recently left. “We’ve worked through paperwork like that with some of the largest hedge funds in the world and company’s like Apple. So to have VMware say, ‘You’re a good partner, you did all the stuff for us. But now, sorry it’s our way or the highway’ -- it’s not partner friendly at all.”

Flinders is being replaced by former longtime Cisco veteran Sandy Hogan as senior vice president of Worldwide Commercial and Partner Sales.

Hogan joined VMware in May as will lead the company’s new partner program and commercial go-to-market. Hogan held various top executive roles at Cisco from 2002 to 2017, including global vice president of Digital Transformation Group and vice president of Business Transformation. Most recently, Hogan was executive vice president and the Americas managing director for Rackspace.

“I’ve been blessed to work for some amazing companies and with amazing people - and have learned a great deal from the lesser-than experiences,” said Hogan in a LinkedIn post in June. “And now, the best is yet to come with world-class VMware. Ready to realize what‘s possible.”

Hogan could not be reached for comment by press time.

“Cisco is a big company with a lot of partners. VMware is a big company with a lot of partners,” said the Midwest-based executive who partners with both VMware and Cisco. “Hopefully, she’ll be successful at VMware and help drive more visibility for the channel.”

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