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By | Martin Edwards 31st July 2008 12:31

NetApp loses global channel sales head

No reason given

NetApp's VP for Worldwide Channels, Leonard Iventosch, has abruptly left the company.

He left his post two days ago with no reason being stated publicly. Iventosch was popular and has had a successful eight years at NetApp as its channel sales became more important. He was named a 2008 Channel Chief by CMP Channel’s CRN in February this year.

At that time he said: “At NetApp we believe in long-term partner relationships based on trust and integrity, and to be recognized for our commitment to our partner community is a great honor. By investing in our channel program and, more importantly, in our partners, we are creating additional opportunities for our most trusted partners to effectively be more engaged with customers to solve their data center needs.”

His CRN citation stated: "NetApp drives over 62% of its business through the channel. Over the last year plus, NetApp increased its number of partners in North America alone from 300 to 425. In addition, we have recruited over 800 new StoreVault partners in North America alone. NetApp's strategy is to continue to add high value partners, especially complimentary partners (systems integrators, platform/server integrators, networking integrators) which can gain access to storage opportunities to drive incremental revenue."

Iventosch's single most important initiative in the past year was: "NetApp dramatically changed the way we view professional services for partners--culminating with the opening up of services to all partners. We are now hiring people to help build channel partners' services--that's a very important change. NetApp has also changed its compensation plans so that field sales managers' comp goals no longer include attached services. Our professional services organization was paid on how much professional services were sold, either direct or via partners--now they're paid on the total sales district performance, not just on services revenue. So we've eliminated conflict."

His greatest challenge over the past three years was: "Getting buy-off from all levels of the organization that the channel is not a 'nice-to-have' but is a 'must-have' in order to sustain high growth goals and further the company's business strategy--was a milestone this year. We have relied heavily on the channel---almost exclusively to drive revenue in the mid-market space and increasingly in our enterprise accounts. Our channel is leveraged for new account penetration and we have significantly invested in lead generation and marketing programs specifically designed to benefit our channel. We have---and will do more going forward---aggressively teamed with our partners in all accounts to drive incremental revenue opportunity."

A company statement said: "During his tenure at NetApp, Leonard has guided the company's success within the channel, including the creation of a globally consistent VIP Program all while developing excellent relationships and loyalty with our partners. NetApp's current channel model has evolved from a simple, single-tier model comprised primarily of small storage resellers to a complex, multi-tier model with a balanced mix of system, server, network and storage integrators."

While a replacement is being found Pat Linehan, SVP Worldwide Sales and Eric Mann, SVP Americas Sales, will jointly run the channel operation at NetApp.

The company stated that it was still very committed to the channel and its channel strategy.

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