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Rodney Clark Named New Microsoft Global Channel Chief

Microsoft is shaking up its worldwide partner organization this week, with new leadership at the top, a new name for the global team and the centralization of the previously independent partner programs for IoT and mixed reality devices under the main channel sales umbrella.

Rodney Clark, a longtime Microsoft executive with significant channel experience, will become corporate vice president of Global Channel Sales effective Thursday, April 1. The title makes Clark the worldwide channel chief at Microsoft, replacing Gavriella Schuster.

Global Channel Sales (GCS) will be the new name for what was previously called the Worldwide One Commercial Partner (OCP) team. However, field operations will retain the OCP name.

Rodney Clark (source: Entegris)

Schuster came to a top leadership role in Microsoft's then-Worldwide Partner Group (WPG) in 2014, when then-channel chief Phil Sorgen named her to a newly created No. 2 position in the WPG. Schuster took over as worldwide channel chief in 2016 when Sorgen moved to a role in the U.S. subsidiary.

In an internal e-mail announcing the changes, Nick Parker, corporate vice president of Global Partner Solutions (GPS), wrote that he and Schuster determined that "after nearly 7 years of leading our partner ecosystem, now would be a good time for her to shift gears and explore opportunities to focus on her passion for business development and furthering the cause of diversity and inclusion."

Schuster has played a major role in efforts to encourage and support women in technology careers. She is a founding sponsor of the Women in Technology (WIT) Network and of Women in Cloud. She also delivered an influential speech, "Become an Ally: How To Achieve Gender Equity," at the TEDxCherryCreekWomen event in Colorado last November.

Parker said Schuster will help with the transition as she determines her next steps.

Clark's most recent position at Microsoft is CVP for IoT and Mixed Reality Sales at Microsoft, a role he's held since 2017. He's been involved with IoT efforts at Microsoft since 2014, and he also managed Microsoft's Samsung Alliance from 2011 to 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Other roles at Microsoft included general manager of SMB-related global operations, a partner-heavy role, and general manager for Worldwide Public Sector.

One of Clark's highest-profile partner positions was in the 2006-2009 timeframe when he ran seminar sales and event marketing. Those efforts included a fleet of seven 42-foot-long "mobile events" trucks in the Microsoft Across America Tour. On Twitter, as @rodneyc55, Clark identifies himself as an "avid cyclist, music nut, hockey coach, community advocate."

Recently, Clark has also been named to the boards of directors for two prominent partner companies. Semiconductor material supplier Entegris appointed Clark to its board in February of this year, and West Monroe Partners, a systems integrator on the RCP 350, named Clark to its board in November 2020.

Under the slightly re-architected role, Clark will have responsibility for the services partner business, OCP field strategy, cross-partner strategy and the Microsoft Partner Network (MPN).

Clark's direct reports include Harish Iyer, partner development manager solutions execution; Laura Polly, inside channel management and channel execution; Lakecia Gunter, IoT partner ecosystem engagement; Mark Rice, licensing solution providers; Maziar Zolghadr, telco service partners; Nikki Meyer, indirect providers; Tatiana Ospina, managed services partners; Alyssa Fitzpatrick, partner co-sell; Camille Mazo, field strategy and operations; Dan Truax, partner programs and unmanaged partner sales; Fadi Barghouthy, technical partner community; and Jim Pinter, business management.

Also going to GCS with Clark from his previous team are Rebekah Midkiff, executive business administration, and Erin Price, business management.

Gunter's IoT team is new to the GCS/OCP. Another partner team, the mixed reality team, led by Mark Day, will move to another part of GPS -- device partner sales run by Nicole Dezen.

Posted by Scott Bekker on March 30, 2021


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