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VMware’s New CEO Is A ‘Channel Ambassador’: Sandy Hogan

‘Not only is he channel friendly, I would say that he is and will be a channel ambassador,’ says VMware’s global channel chief Sandy Hogan tells CRN.

VMware’s global channel chief, Sandy Hogan, is more than bullish about the future of her company’s channel partner strategy with Raghu Raghuram taking over as CEO next week.

“Not only is he channel friendly, I would say that he is and will be a channel ambassador,” said Hogan, senior vice president of VMware’s worldwide partner and commercial organization, in an interview with CRN. “That’s the real unique difference for us to scale to really create that relevance and value to the customer. With all of my conversations with Raghu, he places the partner right at the epicenter of that. So that warms my heart because that’s exactly what we’ve been so vested in the last 12 months that I’ve been here.”

Raghuram is an 18-year VMware veteran with vast experience inside the company both as a technologist and executive leader. He is currently chief operating officer of products and cloud services at VMware, slated to officially become the new CEO on June 1 after former CEO Pat Gelsinger left earlier this year to lead Intel.

[Related: No Hard Feelings In VMware CEO Bake-Off: Sanjay Poonen, Raghu Raghuram]

“I’m incredibly excited about Raghu as CEO. His technical vision and his knowledge and where he sees the future in this multi-cloud area of computing,” said Hogan. “With customers deploying their applications across multiple clouds, data centers and the edge -- our any app, any cloud, any device strategy has really come to light. That power highlights that partners have the opportunity to engage with VMware more than ever.”

Jamison Nack, vice president of alliances for Chicago-based AHEAD, one of VMware’s largest channel partners in the nation, said choosing Raghuram to lead the company along with his channel focus will be “refreshing.”

“There always is some uncertainty when there’s a leadership change, but there’s no doubt that VMware has a commitment to the channel and Raghu does as well. We’re comfortable and confident with that focus,” said Nack, who has more than 20 years of executive channel and vendor experience. “The beauty too of Raghu having almost two decades in VMware is: it’s one thing to have vision, it’s another to be able to execute on that vision. And he knows how to execute and how to get VMware to move. Having that new vision and his ability to navigate VMware with almost two decades of history there, it’s a perfect combination. He was a good choice.”

In a recent interview with CRN, VMware’ new CEO said channel partners “are who put VMware on the map.”

“Even today, the vast majority of VMware’s business is handled with the help of our channel partners,” Raghuram told CRN. “With our channel partners, we’ve been doing several exciting things in helping them grow their traditional business and helping them take advantage of all of the interest and spending that customers are doing in new areas like modern applications, cloud, security — those are all the areas where our partners should expect newer things from us. At the same time — the core, the data center, VMware Cloud foundation, hyperconverged, software-defined networking, software-defined storage — those things continue to go from strength to strength. So you should expect more of the same, but a lot of the new.”

VMware’s new CEO said his goal is to take his company into its “next phase of growth” as the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company strives to become the world leader of multi-cloud computing while continuing its transition away from traditional software licenses into an enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and subscription company.

“That really is what I was appointed to do, to make us the leader in multi-cloud computing. That’s really the focus of the next few years,” said Raghuram. “I’m really looking forward to taking this company to the next phase of growth along with 34,000 of my best friends in the company.”

AHEAD’s Nack is bullish about VMware’s channel future with both Hogan and Raghuram leading the way.

“Sandy has been a great breath of fresh air. Coming from a very channel-centric company [Cisco], she’s brought in a great vision into VMware as it relates to partner investment. I don’t think there’s any better time for him coming on board,” said Nack. “When you think about VMware’s double digit growth, their best-in-class portfolio, Dell spinning them off – it’s a testament to the importance of the channel in terms of their scale. Sandy has done a great job building that vision internally and putting that partner mindset first in some of the things they’ve come out with from a channel offering standpoint.”

VMware is set to report its first fiscal quarter 2022 financial earnings results on Thursday.

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