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HPE on the hunt for new channel chief

Paul Hunter heads to the US, leaving a vacancy at the top of the vendor’s channel organisation

Dell is not the only major vendor that has had to quickly manage the challenge of replacing a worldwide channel chief during the Covid-19 pandemic.

HPE also now finds itself in that position, with its worldwide channel boss, Paul Hunter, moving to step into the shoes suddenly vacated by the firm’s North American managing director, Dan Belanger.

The decision by Belanger, who has been with the vendor for three decades, to step down came unexpectedly and led to a reshuffle that has seen Hunter leave his channel role.

A blog post from Heiko Meyer, chief sales officer at HPE, revealed that the changes were taking place and that Hunter, a 25-year veteran of HPE, would change position.

“Paul has consistently demonstrated a keen awareness of customer needs, effective leadership skills, and the drive to push for better,” said Meyer. “Most recently, he served as the worldwide head of partner sales, embracing our value of ‘partner first’, exemplifying our culture, and helping our partners see the opportunity in our edge-to-cloud strategy.

“This is an exciting move, not only for Paul, but for the North America sales organisation. Paul has been instrumental in accelerating our pivot to becoming the edge-to-cloud platform-as-a-service company.”

Hunter’s recent focus has been on growing channel sales around the GreenLake proposition and Meyer pointed to the 700 partners selling the technology as evidence of success on that front.

“His experience in moving partners from a transactional to a more strategic business outcome model is our future,” he said. “He is well-prepared to drive value for our customers, partners and sales teams, and I am confident in his ability to drive our business forward.”

HPE is now on the hunt for a replacement to step into the worldwide channel chief’s role.

Whoever inherits the position will enter a business that enjoys 70% of its business thanks to the channel and is seen as a vital component of the vendor’s go-to-market strategy.

Speaking ahead of its Discover event back in June, HPE CEO Antonia Neri sang the praises of the channel, saying: “It’s not just about GreenLake – the channel is important for us as a company. We continue to be a partner-led company.

“We want to make it easier for partners to deliver everything as a service. Some 70% of sales on a global basis go through the channel partner community. If we don’t grow the business through the channel, then it is going to be hard for us to grow our business.”

Ironically, HPE is looking to fill that vacancy just days after Dell managed to replace its outgoing channel boss, Joyce Mullen, with Rola Dagher, who rejoins the vendor after a three-year spell as president of Cisco Canada.

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