CDN has heard through a few sources both internally at Microsoft Canada and within its loyal partner community that the subsidiary will have a new channel chief to replace the much beloved Corinne Sharp.

The man pulling the trigger on that decision will be Neil Tanner, the head of small business and partners at Microsoft Canada. Tanner has been at Microsoft Canada for a few years now and should be making this hire instead of  Max Long who just rolled into town.

Sources have told CDN that currently there isn’t a short list of candidates, nor is there a long list of candidates. And, the sources added that they were not sure if the hiring process has even started. What has been determined is that the new Canadian channel chief will be in place before the start of the Worldwide Partner Conference, which kicks off on July 8th in Toronto.

That’s only a few short weeks away. How can the channel community, who is already upset that Sharp has left the organization, be sure that they would get a quality executive?

Now this is pure speculation on my part but I think Tanner can do this. The easiest thing for Tanner to do is look for up and comers at Microsoft U.S., maybe those executives who handled a region like the Eastern seaboard. Any executive who has run a region at Microsoft will have enough market experience to handle the Canadian region. By looking at the U.S., Tanner will have a large base of executives  to choose from.

He can look to outsiders. The best one available is Steve Simmons, the former Canadian channel chief for Cisco. He is a brilliant executive and first-class strategist. However, he left Cisco Canada because of family reasons. He is now at  Flexity Solutions and is very happy there. Let’s face it a channel chief job is taxing on your personal time and demanding mentally. I don’t expect Simmons to get this job unless Tanner can offer him the contents of a Brinks Truck.

Microsoft can go back to Lora Gernon. She held the role before Sharp and is currently a channel consultant. They say you can never go back home butFrank Clegg returned to be Microsoft Canada president so anything is possible. Gernon knows the job, knows the community and would not take long for her to get up and running.

My other choice would be Kevin Krempulec, the country manager of Kaspersky Labs. Krempulec is well known and popular in the channel community. He ran Symantec Canada’s channel for a long time and did a terrific job there.

Then there is Donna Wittmann, the former Canadian channel chief for Cisco Canada. Wittmann is at Tennis Canada right now and from all indications she loves her job there. She does have the qualifications to run Microsoft Canada’s channel and she is quite knowledgeable about Microsoft Canada as a partner with Dell Canada many years ago. The question for Tanner here is what can he do to lure Wittmann away from the likes of Milos Raonic, Rafeal Nadal and other tennis stars?

Another top quality channel executive Tanner should look at is Conrad Mandala of SAP Canada. He did an amazing job transitioning a direct sales culture to embrace the channel at SAP . Mandala no longer has that role at SAP Canada. Mary Peterson has taken over for him. Now Peterson was on Sharp’s team a few years ago. I don’t think she is interested in coming back to Microsoft, but nothing would surprise me.

My last suggestion would be Tanner himself. He is doing the job right now, which gives him the option to wait for the right person.

Things are really interesting at Microsoft Canada these days and channel partners will be waiting in anticipation for the Worldwide Partner Conference not for what’s in store at the show but for who might be announced as the next channel chief for Microsoft Canada.

Two quick hits before I go. Academy Award winning actress Geena Davis, the star of many great movies such as A League of their Own and Thelma & Louise, has been named Special Envoy for Women and Girls in the field of technology by the International Telecommunications Union or ITU. The ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology. Davis will help with ITU's new campaign to highlight the empowering role technology can play in the lives of women and girls.

Tim McKinnon is the new president of Ektron. McKinnon, a 15-year veteran of the software industry, will report to Bill Rogers, Ektron founder and CEO.

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