Microsoft Searches for a New Channel Chief as Rodney Clark Exits

Longtime Microsoft executive and worldwide Microsoft channel chief Rodney Clark is leaving the company, Microsoft announced Monday.

Clark, who officially took on the title of corporate vice president of Global Channel Sales at Microsoft in April 2021, replacing Gavriella Schuster, is apparently leaving Redmond to become a high-ranking executive at an unnamed Microsoft partner company, according to a blog post by Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Global Partner Solutions at Microsoft.

"Today we are sharing news that Rodney has decided to take a new role outside of Microsoft," Parker said. "He will be an Executive Officer at a publicly traded company that is a great partner to Microsoft, and more details will be announced in the coming weeks."

Clark confirmed the news in a short LinkedIn post.

Parker indicated that Clark's exit had been telegraphed for some time, but that Microsoft may not have been prepared for it to happen so soon: "This type of role has been in Rodney's sights as part of his long-term career plan, the timing was sooner than we anticipated."

Clark will remain at Microsoft through the end of May "to ensure a smooth transition with his team," a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mail. Neither the spokesperson nor Parker indicated whether Microsoft will name an interim channel chief after he leaves.

The announcement of Clark's departure comes at a critical period for Microsoft's channel program. Partners are still adjusting to the New Commerce Experience (NCE) subscription model that Microsoft implemented earlier this year.

On top of that, this past March, Clark unveiled the framework for the first major overhaul of Microsoft's partner program in over a decade: The existing Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) is becoming the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program (MCPP), and the old Gold and Silver competency system is being replaced by a new score-based system focused on cloud expertise areas.

The new MCPP won't take effect until October, but it will certainly be top-of-mind for partners during the upcoming Microsoft Inspire conference, taking place on July 19-20. Microsoft intends to have a new channel chief named by then, according to Parker.

"We are actively discussing Rodney's successor and expect to have a new leader in place by the beginning of our new fiscal year in July," he said. "We look forward to introducing this person at Microsoft Inspire, our annual partner conference on July 19-20."

In the meantime, Parker said, partners should not expect any disruptions to their regular transactions with Microsoft.

"We have a deep and talented bench of leaders who are in place to deliver business continuity with our partners and programs without interruption."

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.