20 Notable IT Executive Moves: October

Gotta Be Movin' On

From C-suite shifts to channel chief changes and some eyebrow-raising new moves, here's a roundup of major IT executives moves -- vendor and VAR alike -- relevant to the channel for the month of October. While there weren't as many dramatic changes as in September, October certainly held its fair share of curious shifts, especially at Microsoft and HP. Let's have a peek.

Ozzie, Over and Out

After five highly visible years with Microsoft, Ray Ozzie, Redmond's chief software architect, is bowing out. In mid-October, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer confirmed the move, saying Ozzie will remain with Microsoft for an unspecified period of time to help transition teams and projects, then shift his attentions to the "broader area of entertainment" within Microsoft before he (Ozzie) retires. Ozzie first came to Microsoft in 2005 following Microsoft's acquisition of Groove Networks, and according to Ballmer, he won't be replaced. Last week, Ozzie penned a memo titled "Dawn of a New Day" that outlined Microsoft's achievements but focused on the company's future challenges -- including how to prepare for a "post-PC world."

WebOS One-Up

All eyes in the mobile world are on HP as the tech giant continues to digest Palm and makes plans for future use of webOS, Palm's mobile platform. So it makes sense, then, that HP would want a veteran mobile device hand at the webOS tiller, and it got one in Ari Jaaksi, whom HP hired as its new senior vice president for webOS in mid-October. Jaaksi, the former vice president of devices for shakeup-prone Nokia, resigned from Nokia earlier in October, just before an announcement from Intel that Nokia phones based on MeeGo, Nokia's open-source OS developed jointly with Intel, would be delayed until 2011.

Phillips Makes A Statement

It didn't take former Oracle Co-President Charles Phillips long to land on his feet -- and at an Oracle competitor, no less. Philips, who stepped aside from Oracle in September as former HP CEO Mark Hurd joined the business software giant, is now CEO and a member of the board of directors at Infor, a force in the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software market. It's a bold grab for Infor. As one solution provider put it to CRN, Phillips knows "where all the bodies are buried and he is familiar with all of Oracle's largest clients."

Bates Goes All-In With Skype

A 15-year veteran of Cisco, Tony Bates, who until the end of October was senior vice president, enterprise, commercial and small business group, is well known throughout the video, UC and collaboration channels, as well as for his long-running stint as general manager of Cisco's service provider unit. Now, Bates will tackle the biggest assignment of his decorated career: he was named the new CEO of Skype in early October, and moves into the role officially this week. He replaces Joshua Silverman, and joins Skype at a critical time when the consumer VoIP service has an IPO on the horizon, a formal channel program in place, and designs on gaining more business and enterprise customers.

More Microsoft Moves

Much of the year in Microsoft executive moves has been about departures, but Microsoft in October did bump up some lieutenants to fill key positions. Among them were Kurt DelBene (pictured), now president, Microsoft Office Division, who succeeded Stephen Elop (former Office boss and now CEO at Nokia), Andy Lees, now president of the Mobile Communications business, and Don Mattrick, now head of the Interactive Gaming business. Microsoft does not have plans to replace Robbie Bach, the former head of its mobile and entertainment products, who is officially retiring at the end of the year. Both Lees and Mattrick were senior vice presidents under Bach.

StorageWorks Stocks Up

HP didn't waste any time shaking up its StorageWorks division following its acquisition of 3PAR. Dave Scott, the former president and CEO of 3PAR, became the new head of StorageWorks, replacing Dave Roberson, who had been in the position for the past three years. The changes were announced in late September in an internal memo from Dave Donatelli, executive vice president and general manager for HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking (ESSN) group.

INX's Prime Mover

Among the major VAR executive changes of the month, Mark T. Hilz became president and CEO of Houston-based INX, the infrastructure powerhouse. Hilz came to INX via a merger with his former company InterNetwork Experts in 2005, when he became president and chief operating officer of the company. Hilz will replace James H. Long, who founded INX in 1983, and will become executive chairman.

Michigan Connection

Solution provider Dewpoint, a regular on the VAR 500 list, made a big grab in early October, hiring former State of Michigan CIO Ken Theis as its new chief operating officer. Theis, who joined Dewpoint officially on Oct. 1 and was also a former IT director at General Motors, will help the Lansing, Mich.-based VAR strengthen its consulting, technology and services offerings.

Suspension Over, With Conditions

The Small Business Administration lifted the temporary federal contract suspension it had imposed on integrator GTSI in early October. But the lift came with a condition: GTSI's President and CEO Scott Friedlander and Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Charles DeLeon, had to resign as part of the agreement. Read all about the sticky saga of GTSI, a Herndon, Va.-based solution provider and No. 82 on the VAR 500 list.

Bixler's Best Still Ahead

Gary Bixler led what might be described as a channel renaissance at chipmaker AMD, and in early October, Bixler stepped down to start his own channel consulting business. It's another bold move for Bixler, an 18-year AMD veteran, who built the first channel program at AMD during his decorated career. Now Bixler, is looking forward to helping young startups build channel programs and large companies tackle channel challenges that come with going global.

ShoreTel Shuffle

Earlier this summer, former ShoreTel CEO John Combs announced he would step down, and in early October, he was replaced by Don Girskis, former senior vice president of worldwide sales. Girskis is CEO on an interim basis, and according to ShoreTel's Kevin Gavin, "the search continues" for Combs' permanent replacement. Scrappy UC upstart ShoreTel, whose customer growth and financial performance have been on a steady upswing, just made a game-changing acquisition of Agito Networks, dramatically expanding what it can offer for mobile infrastructure and security solutions.

Lexmark Leave

Lexmark Chairman and CEO Paul Curlander announced last week that he will retire in spring 2011, as part of a planned management succession process. Curlander, a 12-year veteran, stepped down from the CEO spot and until his retirement, will be executive chairman. Paul Rooke is succeeding Curlander as president and CEO. Both Curlander and Rooke have been with Lexmark since its formation as a spinoff from IBM in March 1991.

Riverbed's Global Vision

WAN optimization powerhouse Riverbed has promises more emphasis on channel distribution, cloud computing and partner enablement, and to lead those efforts is Randy Schirman, who in late October was named Riverbed's new vice president of channel sales. While Riverbed previously had sales chiefs dedicated to various channel partner segments, Schirman, who has been with Riverbed since 2008 and most recently ran its service provider segment, will now manage channel sales efforts for all segments and theaters on a global basis.

Tweet Sensation

Twitter, the popular microblogging service, has become a favorite company of social networking observers wondering just how the segment will transform business in the future. But its co-founder, Evan Williams, will no longer be the one to say what goes where -- Twitter earlier in October named Dick Costolo, formerly its COO, its new CEO, charged with continuing Williams' efforts to develop a revenue model for the company while Williams focuses all of his time on strategy. Costolo's work will be close-watched, for sure.

Mayer On The Move

In her role as vice president of search products, Marissa Mayer has been one of Google's most visible executives. So it's telling that Mountain View has put Meyer -- who was Google's first female engineer, hired in 1999 -- in charge of location and local services, two areas Google is counting on as major revenue sources in the future. Bloomberg, which was one of the first to report on the news in mid-October, also noted that Mayer will become part of Google's operating committee, which houses Google's inner circle and is its senior-most management group.

Ford's New Stripes

In mid-October, Zebra Technologies, which boasts a vibrant channel for specialty printing and scanning products, named Ashley Ford its vice president for sales in North America for its Specialty Printing group. Ford has been with Zebra since 2005 and most recently headed up its EMEA business. He will be responsible for Zebra's channel-led sales strategy and growth in vertical markets and applications throughout North America. A 15-year IT veteran, Ford, before Zebra, held exec positions at Samsung, Xerox and AST Computer Europe.

AppSense's Good Sense

AppSense is a growing force among virtualization vendors, especially in desktop virtualization, and in mid-October, it nabbed an industry vet, Richard Jackson, as its new vice president of channel for the U.S. Jackson's industry credentials are sound: he spent 11 years on Citrix's executive team. most recently as area vice president for the western U.S., and earlier in his career, founded no less than three distributors: Logtek, Data Guardian, and Volante. He'll have plenty to do at AppSense, which recently boasted of 60 percent growth in global revenue and 170 percent increase in U.S. customer recruitment, plus a rapidly growing channel.

Rankin Gets Educated

Panasonic Solutions's higher education business is an important piece of its pie, and it has a new leader for the unit: Art Rankin, a veteran of the higher education market, who will now be Panasonic's director of projectors and higher education sector. A 23-year Panasonic veteran, Rankin will be in charge of strategy, sales efforts and product development of PSC products for the education market, including projectors, displays, A/V equipment and mobile devices. He'll also be in charge of the Panasonic projector segment specifically, including product development and sales through all of Panasonic's key verticals, from government to home cinema, houses of worship and health care. Rankin is a channel veteran, and his previous roles at Panasonic have included national sales executive positions.

Mammoth Channel

Some moving and shaking in the telco and service provider channels: Mammoth Networks, a wholesaler and aggregator of fiber and data circuits, named John Hogan its new vice president of business development, which includes Mammoth's indirect channels. The move, as reported by Phone Plus magazine, puts Hogan in charge of a partner program that includes five master agents. Hogan is a veteran of XO Communications, where he was in charge of its direct sales team, but he does have a channel pedigree: before XO, he was director of the Pacific region for Qwest's Business Partner Program.

Let Us Know

Keep us up to date on all your channel executive changes, as well as any you hear about. Contact Chad Berndtson at [email protected].

While you're at it, check out past executive move roundups for 2010:

Fall Channel Follies: Notable Executive Moves -- September

Summer Shifts: Notable July-August IT Executive Moves

25 Notable Executive Moves From The First Half of 2010