The first thing I learned about Donna Wittmann was that smart and highly influential people in the channel rave about her.

One top executive who asked for anonymity told me that Wittmann is a very capable person with outstanding credentials.

I first met Wittmann at the Microsoft Impact Awards in 2007. Harry Zarek of Compugen introduced me to her. I am always weary of meeting Dell executives because of the hard and unwavering stance I took towards the company’s direct-selling policy. At the time, Zarek told me how accomplished an executive Wittmann was.

I bumped into Wittmann in Houston last year during my meeting with Greg Davis, her former boss at Dell Canada. I brought Davis a framed copy of his CDN Top Newsmaker of the year edition. Wittmann was nice enough to take our photo with the magazine. Just like Zarek Davis also complimented his former co-worker giving her a glowing review.

Now Wittmann takes over the channel chief duties left nine months ago by Ross Pellizzari. Cisco channel business in Canada is roughly $800 million and that is a big challenge.

Is Wittmann up for the challenge? I think so.

Wittmann has channel experience while working for Xerox, however she has spent a considerable amount of time working for a direct-only vendor and my concern would be her transition from direct to channel.

I have written about this several times but for a channel executive to be successful with solution providers they must be part of the culture —