In-Depth

Microsoft OCP Puts New Faces in Partner Management Roles

With the creation of the One Commercial Partner team and the reorganization of the Microsoft field structure largely complete, the roster of partner-facing channel executives at Microsoft seems mostly set for fiscal year 2018.

Microsoft's reorganization of its partner-facing team this year has been an ongoing process running from January through August.

With the majority of the most dramatic changes complete, including the creation of the One Commercial Partner (OCP) organization in January/February and the broader reorganization of the entire Microsoft field in July, most of the top channel executive slots are filled.

One Commercial Partner

RON HUDDLESTON
Corporate Vice President, One Commercial Partner

More on Microsoft One Commercial Partner

Throughout the month, we're unpacking some of the most important changes that are taking place at Microsoft to help partners make sense of what's going on within the new OCP organization:

Introduction: Get To Know Microsoft's 'One Commercial Partner'

Navigating the Solution Maps and Channel Managers of Microsoft's OCP

• Microsoft OCP Puts New Faces in Partner Management Roles

How To Speak Microsoft in the 'One Commercial Partner' Era

In his current role officially since February, Ron Huddleston is the leader of the One Commercial Partner organization and reports to Judson Althoff, executive vice president for the Microsoft Worldwide Commercial Business. Huddleston has responsibility for nearly all channel activity at Microsoft in a role that consolidates efforts that previously spanned many different divisions and groups inside the company.

Huddleston was relatively new to Microsoft, having joined the company in the summer of 2016 in a Dynamics partner leadership role. However, he's no stranger to very senior channel positions at major technology companies.

Previous experience includes rebuilding parts of the North American partner organization at Oracle Corp. in the early 2000s. Later he followed Marc Benioff to Salesforce.com Inc. to set up that enterprise cloud CRM company's channel, including AppExchange, the business app marketplace that's a keystone of Salesforce.com interactions with its partners.

Before joining Microsoft and while in his earlier role at the company, Huddleston engaged in ongoing conversations with Althoff and later with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and former COO Kevin Turner "about how to organize these partner programs to make it really functional and to make it really work to generate new partners and to have it really execute against all that a company was able to do for them, and then bring the best partners into customers," Huddleston said in an interview with RCP.

[Click on image for larger view.] In his role since early 2017, One Commercial Partner CVP Ron Huddleston made his big public debut in front of the broad partner community at Microsoft Inspire this summer.

GAVRIELLA SCHUSTER
Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Channels & Programs

Schuster is Microsoft's worldwide channel chief, in charge of crafting the channel structure and the partner programs. She was named to the previous iteration of the post, corporate vice president of the Worldwide Partner Group, in June 2016 after holding the job briefly in an interim capacity. During a Microsoft Inspire keynote in July, Schuster described her focus right now as answering three concerns she hears repeatedly from partners: "No. 1, 'How do I engage with your field?' No. 2, 'Why are you so complicated?' And No. 3, 'How do we show up better together when we go to the customer?'"

MICHAEL ANGIULO
Corporate Vice President, ISV and SI

Angiulo holds a new role that combines Microsoft's efforts touching both independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs). Even at the beginning of the year, those roles had largely been separated, with the initial rollout of the OCP involving major direct reports to Huddleston of Schuster, former Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) head Victor Morales and Kim Akers, who ran an ISV Partner Business Evangelist/Go-To-Market team. As the overall Worldwide Commercial Business reorg took shape, however, Akers moved out of OCP to a different role reporting to Althoff. Angiulo, a longtime Microsoft veteran, has a heavy engineering and product-planning background. According to Huddleston, he'll be heavily involved in developing partners into key positions on the Solution Maps, which are a major part of Microsoft's channel strategy. Morales reports to Angiulo.

OCP is newly organized to support three core functions: "Build-With," for managing partners; "Go-To-Market," for putting offers and programs in the market; and "Sell-With," which is about co-selling. Angiulo holds a core "Build-With" role.

Aside from Schuster and Angiulo, Huddleston's other direct reports include:
  • Larry Orecklin, vice president, Field and Operations, has a major "Sell-With" role. His experience at Microsoft includes developer experience and evangelism, solution sales and server and tools marketing.

  • Joel Borellis, general manager, technical lead, is a former Oracle group vice president in Partner Enablement and Communications. For the last year he was general manager for U.S. Partner Enablement at Microsoft.

  • Gavin Orleow, senior director, Business Strategy, is a longtime Microsoft executive who has run partner strategy and channel development for nearly five years.

  • Cheryl Miller, senior director, Go-To-Market lead, is the latest addition to the team, covering the "Go-To-Market" core function. With Microsoft for 18 months, Miller spent about 11 years at Symantec Corp. after starting her career in distribution and with systems integrators.

  • Todd Nelmes, chief of staff, has managed communications for various elements of the Microsoft partner organization for more than a decade.

Microsoft U.S.

KATE JOHNSON
President and Corporate Vice President, Microsoft U.S.

For U.S. partners, the organization of Microsoft U.S. is a key concern. As the reorganization was being announced, Executive Vice President and President of Microsoft Global Sales Jean-Philippe Courtois ran the critical U.S. subsidiary on a temporary basis. But in mid-July, Microsoft announced that senior GE executive Kate Johnson would be taking over on Sept. 8.

In a post on her LinkedIn profile page, Johnson said, "In September, 2017, I will take the role of President & CVP of Microsoft US. In this role, I will be responsible for growing all of Microsoft's solutions, service and support revenues across both the public and private sector in the United States, while pursuing the company's mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

"Prior to Microsoft, I was the chief commercial officer of GE Digital, a division of GE focused on transforming industrial businesses into digital industrial businesses through the use of software and data analytics. The commercial organization at GE Digital included sales, marketing and services. As a team, we were responsible for driving GE's overall service revenue growth through the commercialization of Predix, GE's Big Data and analytics software platform, and the associated Predix applications for brilliant manufacturing, asset performance management and cyber security.

"Prior to GE, I led teams at Oracle, Red Hat and UBS that were focused on transforming businesses."

Johnson's direct reports in channel-facing roles will be familiar to longtime U.S. partners:

  • David Willis, corporate vice president, U.S. OCP, previously ran U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions & Partners for four years and was vice president for U.S. Dynamics before that, in addition to other roles in the United States and Canada.

  • Phil Sorgen, corporate vice president, Enterprise Commercial, was Schuster's predecessor as worldwide channel chief.

  • Allison Watson, corporate vice president, U.S. Marketing and Operations, was a long-serving worldwide channel chief and led the creation of the current Microsoft Partner Network structure. Watson will also have responsibility for the new Small Medium and Corporate (SMC) customers unit in the United States, which will interact closely with partners.

Significant Departures
The raft of changes also saw the departures of two senior Microsoft channel executives.

Cindy Bates, a significant contributor to Microsoft's channel efforts for more than a dozen years, was the face of Microsoft's small business initiatives and then served as co-channel chief for the United States. Since 2010, Bates was vice president of U.S. SMB and Distribution.

Also leaving was Stephen Boyle, a former senior Oracle executive who was the vice president of the U.S. Partner Group for the last two years. Before that, he spent a year as vice president of Enterprise Partners in EPG.