Let me start by saying that at this time I do not have any information nor do I have a gut feel as to who will get this high profile job. I’m not even sure who would have the inside track on this job or even a short list of candidates. Having said that I will now speculate on who will get this job. The first thing you must know is that Charles Salameh, vice president and GM for HP Canada’s Personal Systems Group (PSG), who is currently overseeing the Solution Partners Organization, is stirring this drink at the Canadian subsidiary. From what I have been told he will make the final choice and it will be rubber stamped by subsidiary president Paul Tsaparis. I have already taken two calls from prospective candidates for this job. I will not reveal who they are because I would like to see them get a fair shot at the position.
So here would be my short list.
The first executive I thought of was David Wilkinson, the former Nortel channel chief. He has experience in beating Cisco in the market place and Wilkinson was also a work mate of Salameh at Nortel. Not sure if asked that Wilkinson would take this job. He’s an American and the job would require him to move full time to Toronto. Wilkinson is a flamboyant character and would have enough hutzpah (I mean that in a good way) to be able to get channel partners on his side. I’m not sure how intimate he is with the Canadian market, however. From what I’ve heard he did not spend too much of his time in Canada even though Nortel was officially based in Brampton, Ont.
My next choice is someone who I know would do a great job and that is Steve Simmons, the former Canadian channel chief for Cisco. He is a brilliant executive and first-class strategist. However, he left Cisco Canada for Oakville, Ont.-based solution provider Unis Lumin because of family reasons. Let’s face it a channel chief job is taxing on your personal time and demanding mentally.
Another choice Salameh could make that would be easy to do is ask Dave Frederickson to go back to channels. I do not think this will happen either because I think Frederickson has been there; done that; bought the T-shirt and has nothing more to prove. I only see this happening if HP Canada gets desperate.
As for internal candidates you have to look at Michael McAvoy, director, small and mid-sized business for HP Canada. He would be a fresh face. He is very personable. I have seen him first hand in action with partners and he’s a natural with them. McAvoy did a fantastic job with the SMB Elite program, which falls under the umbrella PartnerOne.ca channel program. Channel partners also like him and sometimes that’s half the battle. Does he have enough experience? He is battle tested to move up? Those are areas Salameh must determine when it comes to McAvoy.
Then there is Corey Copping, channel marketing manager for HP Procurve. He is probably a dark horse internal candidate, but again I think he should get an interview since he has all the skill sets to do this job. Similar to McAvoy he knows the channel partners very well. He also battles the 800-pound gorilla named Cisco everyday.
Last on my short list is Charles Salameh himself. Since he’s already doing the day-to-day job of SPO chief; why not? He too is qualified for the job and it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility.
Other candidates that could do this job are Fred Patterson at Symantec Canada, Conrad Mandala of SAP Canada, Lora Gernon, ex of Microsoft Canada, Gary Isaacs of IBM Canada, Ron Hulse of Samsung Canada, Robert Grossman, ex of Toshiba Canada and Murray Wright of Tech Data. I don’t see any of these people wanting this job except for Gernon who is a free-agent. It would be great to see Gernon back in action. She definitely can do this job in her sleep. Gernon handled one of the larger partner organizations with Microsoft Canada and is well respected in the industry. Wright, a former CDN Newsmaker of the Year, would want to have to leave the sunshine of Florida to come back. Patterson and Mandala are currently working on large projects. I don’t see them leaving. Same goes for Hulse, who is basically in charge at Samsung Canada. As for Isaacs, he would be ideal, but like Frederickson has nothing to prove. Grossman would probably have Cisco shaking in its boots, but he too is at a point in his career where he has nothing left to prove and last time I talked to him he was helping his son’s business get off the ground.
Then there is Ross Pellizzari, former Cisco Canada channel chief. He does have something to prove for sure. Not totally sure if he would fit into HP Canada’s culture, but if Salameh is looking for an executive who knows where the bodies are buried then Pellizzari is his man. He would definitely shake things up and make it interesting. Currently he is working for a local solution provider.
But what HP Canada really needs is a war-time channel chief. With all do respect to Greg Chappell who is a fine senior executive, he is not a war-time channel chief. And HP is at war with Cisco. And, when you are going face-to-face with the likes of Donna Wittmann, Nitin Kawale, Edison Peres and Keith Goodwin you’ll need someone who is cunning, skillful, determined, and totally devoted to the cause.
I will keep you posted when I get some more information on who has the inside track on this job.