The 25 Blockbuster Channel Chief Moves Of 2017

Revolving Door In The Channel

The channel chief position is a powerful one for much of the IT industry which depends on expanding and maintaining relationships with a wide range of channel partners. A good channel chief, however, is not easy to find or develop. He or she needs not only to understand a vendor's business but also needs to have sales and public relations skills while being able to spend half the year or more living out of hotels.

The job calls for tough men and women, and the 25-or-so folks profile here make the cut. They showed they have the experience and drive needed to help IT vendors build and or nourish their channel relationships.

Turn the page for a look at some of the top channel executive moves in companies large and small in 2017.

Get more of CRN's 2017 tech year in review.

Ricardo Moreno, Intel

Intel hired Ricardo Moreno as its new vice president of channel sales in January, the latest in a number of executive channel shifts at Intel in recent months. Moreno now serves as vice president of Intel's sales and marketing group and general manager of the chipmaker's Partner Program Organization.

Prior to joining Intel, Moreno most recently served as executive vice president of worldwide partner sales at networking intelligence software maker Infoblox, overseeing partner relationships, development and programs. Before that he worked at Cisco for 16 years, working his way up the ranks from channel account manager in Sao Paulo, Brazil and finishing his career at the networking giant as vice president of Cisco's U.S. and Latin America field partner organization.

Scott Genereux, Veritas Technologies

Veritas Technologies in January appointed Scott Genereux as the company's new executive vice president of worldwide field operations, placing him in charge of all sales, channel services and support for the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

Genereux has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, most recently at Oracle as senior vice president of the company's Cloud Converged Infrastructure group. Before that, Genereaux had a long pedigree in the storage industry with companies such as cloud storage provider Nirvanix and storage vendors Qlogic, Hitachi Data Systems, and DataDirect Networks.

Mark Maisano, Pivot3

Pivot3 in February named Mark Maisano to be the hyper-converged infrastructure technology company's new channel chief. As vice president of channel sales, Maisano is charged with helping to accelerate the company's business by building closer ties to its channel partners.

Maisano joined Pivot3 from Acronis where he spent more than a year as vice president of global distribution. Before that, he was senior director of worldwide distribution at Seagate Technology and its former EVault cloud storage unit.

Ron Gill, Aerohive Networks

Ron Gill, the former sales leader for Ruckus Wireless America, in February landed a new position at rival Aerohive Networks. Milpitas, Calif.-based Aerohive hired Gill as its new vice president of Americas sales, placing Gil in charge of leading the company's channel sales charge in the region.

Gill served as vice president of Americas enterprise sales at Ruckus, leading Ruckus' North American sales for eight years. In 2012, the company also added Latin America to his responsibilities. Gill left Ruckus in November 2016 at the same time the company announced that its parent company, Brocade Communications, was being acquired by semiconductor maker Broadcom.

Lisa Simpson, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise in January hired Nokia sales veteran Lisa Simpson as its vice president of channel sales and distribution in North America. Simpson is responsible for growing the company's reseller and distribution base and driving revenue growth through partners. New opportunities for supporting partners in the education and transportation verticals will be one key focus, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise said.

During 15 years at Nokia, Simpson held a number of executive sales roles, most recently as senior director of partner sales.

Jon Whitlock, Carbonite

Carbonite in March named John Whitlock, the company's vice president of channel sales and marketing, to head its channel program. Whitlock joined Carbonite in December as vice president of channel marketing. Whitlock was charged with expanding Carbonite's incentive program and providing more programmatic opportunities for partners to do more with the company, including through-partner marketing activities, and will increase the alignment between the company's sales teams and partners.

Before Carbonite, Whitlock four-plus years at Kaspersky Lab. He replaced Jessica Couto, who served as the company's channel chief since December 2015.

Pete Peterson, Xerox

Xerox in March hired Pete Peterson, a longtime Tech Data executive, as senior vice president of global channel strategy. The was a new position at Xerox focused on driving best channel practices globally and growing business with multi-brand resellers.

Peterson reports to Xerox Chief Commercial Officer Kevin Warren, and oversees infrastructure, operations, and channel program employees with global responsibilities.

Peterson spent 19 years Tech Data, including more than a decade in senior sales and marketing roles, before leaving the company in late 2015. He briefly held sales executive roles at Brocade and Tessco Technologies before joining Xerox.

Brad Tompkins, IGEL

Endpoint management software company IGEL in May tapped Brad Tompkins to lead its channel charge as vice president of sales for North America.

Tompkins has a long history of selling cloud and managed open-source software solutions to enterprise customers. The sales executive previously worked as an area manager at Red Hat's strategic sales team, as well as at Hewlett Packard and Citrix.

Karl Soderlund, Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks in May hired channel veteran Karl Soderlund to run its Americas channels organization, where continue to evolve the company's NextWave Channel Partner Program. Soderlund replaced Todd Palmer, who left to join hyper-converged infrastructure startup Cohesity.

Previously, Soderlund served as group vice president of worldwide channels and alliances for unified communications specialist 8x8. Before that, he was the global channel chief for cybersecurity vendor Imperva. Other positions have included vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Aruba Networks, as well as vice president, Americas channel sales for Avaya.

Todd Palmer, Cohesity

Former Palo Alto Networks channel chief Todd Palmer, who was key in revamping the security vendor's partner program last year, in May joined hyper-converged infrastructure startup Cohesity.

Palmer is now the new vice president of worldwide channels at Cohesity. In April, Cohesity raised a $90 million Series C round from backers including HPE and Cisco. Palmer spent the past three years as Palo Alto Networks' vice president of Americas channel sales, responsible for driving the company's partner and sales strategy for thousands of partners. Palmer reports to Mark Parrinello, Cohesity's vice president of worldwide sales.

John Teltsch, IBM

Following the July departure of IBM channel chief Marc Dupaquier, John Teltsch took over the role as the general manager of global business partners at IBM. Teltsch moves over from his position as general manager for transformation, global markets at IBM.

Teltsch has held many sales leadership roles across IBM divisions in his 36-year career with the company, including 25 years in the systems or software groups, where the channel has been a significant factor in go-to-market strategy. He previously led IBM's Latin America organization and worked a few years in Spain running European software sales. Teltsch also ran sales for the Global Systems x group, an 80 percent channel business, before its divestiture to Lenovo.

Brian Bakstran, Veeam

Veeam in June poached channel veteran Brian Bakstran from NetApp to be its vice president of Americas marketing. He had previously worked at NetApp in the position of vice president of global field and channel marketing.

The hiring of Bakstran coincides with Veeam naming James Mundle, a veteran of companies including HPE, as vice president of worldwide channel programs.

Bakstran spent seven years with NetApp, with other positions including chief marketing officer and vice president of North America marketing. Before NetApp, Bakstran spent nearly five years in various executive marketing roles at CA Technologies.

Jeff McCullough, NetApp

NetApp in June hired Jeff McCullough, who previously worked for NetApp rival Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as the new vice president of its Americas partner sales organization. He took over for Scott Strubel, who retired from NetApp in March.

McCullough spent a total of 22 years with Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and HPE, and left HPE in 2016 as vice president of channel strategy and SMB sales. He then spent a year as vice president of channel sales and alliances at Quest Software before joining NetApp.

McCollough told CRN he grew jealous of the potential of NetApp's channel program while at Hewlett-Packard and HPE.

Jessica Couto, IntSights

IntSights, developer of a platform for cybersecurity intelligence, in July landed longtime channel executive Jessica Couto as its first head of worldwide channels.

Previously, Couto had helped multiple security companies -- including Carbonite, Bit9 (now Carbon Black), Kaspersky Lab and, most recently, Hexadite -- build out their partner programs.

Following the acquisition of Hexadite by Microsoft, most of that company's staff -- including Couto -- were cut. Couto hadn't been with Hexadite long, joining as vice president of channel in April to launch its partner program and build out its channel strategy.

Eric Friedrichsen & Marc Monday, SAP

SAP in July named a pair of Concur Technologies executives to oversee the global software vendor's SMB and channel ecosystem operations in North America.

Eric Friedrichsen (pictured) is now the head of SAP North America's small and midsize business and channel segment, while Marc Monday is head of SAP North America's channel ecosystem.

Friedrichsen previously ran the SMB business at Concur Technologies, the business and travel expense management software company that SAP acquired in 2014. He succeeds Scott Jones, who left SAP in January.

Monday takes over for Annie Neubrech, who moved into a global position at SAP earlier this year. At Concur, he had led global business development efforts for the SMB segment. Monday will report to Friedrichsen, SAP said.

Tom Evans, Palo Alto Networks

Palo Alto Networks in August appointed Tom Evans, a veteran of security and channel sales, to serve as director of Americas strategic channel initiatives. Evans most recently was vice president of global channels and business development for K2. Prior to that, he held channel chief positions at ForeScout Technologies and F5 Networks.

Brandon Sweeney, VMware

VMware shuffled its executive deck in August to appoint 14-year company veteran Brandon Sweeney to its top channel post and moving Ross Brown from that position into a role focused on cloud, IoT and other emerging technologies. Sweeney, who is credited with building VMware's channel, now serves as senior vice president of worldwide partners and alliances. His team will oversee VMware's global relationships with solution providers, distributors, telecom companies and OEMs. That is on top of Sweeney's current responsibilities overseeing VMware's worldwide partner organization.

For Brown, the new role involves leading VMware's business with systems integrators, systems outsourcers, ISVs and technology vendor partners. Brown has been at VMware for about two years as worldwide partners and alliances vice president.

John DeLozier, CenturyLink

CenturyLink unveiled a new channel leadership team to head its partner program following the close of its merger with fellow telecom company Level 3 Communications.

John DeLozier, formerly CenturyLink's vice president of the Channel Alliance program, is now splitting the role of channel chief with Level 3's vice president of indirect sales, Garrett Gee.

Effective at the start of 2018, DeLozier's new title will be vice president, indirect strategic partnerships and alliances for CenturyLink. In his role, DeLozier will be responsible for the company's top 25 strategic partners globally. Gee will be responsible for execution in the field, including sales within CenturyLink's territories.

Raelyn Kritzer, Ruckus Wireless

Raelyn Kritzer, a longtime Brocade Communications partner champion, took the channel chief position left open at Ruckus Wireless when Sandra Glaser Cheek left in August. Kritzer had served as senior director of worldwide partner programs and enablement for Brocade, and has been with the company for 16 years.

Brocade acquired Ruckus last year for $1.2 billion. Brocade-Ruckus in late 2017 acquired by Broadcom, which then immediately sold Ruckus and its IP networking business to Arris.

Kritzer led Brocade's partner marketing efforts for more than a decade, holding positions such as director of worldwide partner marketing and senior manager of worldwide partner marketing.

Terry Richardson, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

HPE North America Sales Chief Dan Belanger in September put a new management team in place with Terry Richardson, vice president of HPE's U.S. channel sales, overseeing channels and alliances.

Richardson, a 30-year channel veteran who had managed all of the HPE's enterprise partner business, will now be head of channels and alliances in North America. Richardson in July added U.S. distribution to his duties in the wake of an executive departure at the company. In his new role, Richardson takes on the duties of HPE Vice President of U.S. Distribution Bob Johnson, who left the company.

Richardson will now oversee the company's enterprise partner business across the country, as well as HPE's U.S. distribution business.

Zee Hussain, AT&T

Zee Hussain, division president of AT&T Partner Solutions, in October took over as channel chief after 30-year AT&T veteran and former channel chief Brooks McCorcle unveiled plans to retire.

In tandem, AT&T said that it is realigning its indirect channel program, bringing its three different solution provider models – AT&T Partner Exchange, ACC Business, and AT&T Alliance Channel — under one roof.

In his new role, Hussain will lead AT&T's three partner programs. Hussain, a 19-year AT&T veteran, has served in various roles with the carrier, including vice president of AT&T's Premier Client Groups, sales vice president for the midmarket, and director of channel acquisition sales.

Paul Hunter, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

HPE CEO Meg Whitman's chief of staff Paul Hunter in October took over as channel chief after HPE Global Channel Chief Denzil Samuels decided to leave HPE by January 31 after only nine months for other sales-focused opportunities. Hunter, a 15-year HPE veteran with experience as an HPE business unit and channel sales leader in the United Kingdom, takes the helm with HPE in the midst of the massive Next restructuring.

HPE President Antonio Neri told CRN that Hunter, who has worked side by side with Whitman for the past three years, is the right executive to lead the channel sales charge under a new global sales structure. "Paul has the [channel] DNA and a deep understanding of the business with our channel partners," Neri said.

Eli Kalil, Unitrends

Eli Kalil, formerly Mimecast's top channel executive, in September was appointed channel chief of Unitrends' newly-formed partner program.

As vice president of global channel sales at the disaster recovery company, Kalil is aligning Unitrends' sales and marketing approaches with the rest of the business and developing a more targeted, cohesive channel program.

The new partner program, launched late in 2017, is a tiered partner model, with Silver, Gold and Platinum tiers. The tiers are broken down by revenue and training requirements, rewarding those partners who invest more in Unitrends.

Heather Tenuto, Office Depot

ShoreTel veteran Heather Tenuto in November was hired as vice president of channels for Office Depot, where she will work to help the retail giant establish a reseller channel under former Verizon channel chief Janet Schijns, now the company's chief merchant and services officer.

Tenuto at ShoreTel served as vice president of channels. She joined the telecom services provider during its 2012 purchase of M5 Networks, where she spent five years in a number of roles including channel management.

Office Depot acquired solution provider heavyweight CompuCom in October with visions of selling the company's Tech-Zone technology services and help desk solution to its SMB market. CompuCom's core business was traditionally in the enterprise market.

Joyce Mullen, Dell EMC

When former Dell EMC channel chief John Byrne in November took a new role as the company's president of North American commercial sales, it was up to Dell veteran Joyce Mullen to take over as channel chief. Mullen, senior vice president and general manager of Dell EMC's global OEM and IOT solutions, is running a combined OEM, IoT and Global Channels organization. She has overseen the company's IoT solutions division for the past year and was vice president and general manager of Global OEM Solutions since 2012. President and Chief Commercial Officer Marius Haas called Mullen one of Dell's most promising executives.

"She is on it like a pit bull," said Haas. "We are excited that we have this talent in-house, and we are excited about the next phase of the journey we are embarking on."