Microsoft channel chief Rodney Clark is leaving the technology giant to take a job at an outside company.
The 24-year Microsoft veteran’s departure comes just more than a year after being appointed to what he then described as a “destination role” and “dream job” at Microsoft. Last March, he replaced Gavriella Schuster, who had held the channel chief role for five years.
As corporate vice president of Channel Sales, Clark oversaw the Microsoft Partner Network’s 400,000-plus companies that sell and support its enterprise products and services and build their own solutions and devices around them.
Clark joined Microsoft in 1998 and had been leading its IoT and mixed-reality sales for more than 3.5 years when he landed the channel chief position.
“For 24+ years I have been able to learn, grow and work for the best company in the world,” Clark said in a LinkedIn post on Monday. “My family has been raised with Microsoft, and my community has been shaped by Microsoft.”
Clark has accepted a new job as an executive officer at an unnamed, publicly traded company that partners with Microsoft, according to a blog post on Monday by Nick Parker, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Global Partner Solutions.
“This type of role has been in Rodney’s sights as part of his long-term career plan; the timing was sooner than we anticipated,” Parker said in the blog post. “Rodney’s imprint on many of our businesses has been significant and enduring as we continue to transform our entire partner ecosystem to realize new growth with Microsoft Cloud. We have a deep and talented bench of leaders who are in place to deliver business continuity with our partners and programs without interruption.”
Parker said Microsoft is actively discussing Clark’s replacement and expects to have a new leader in place by the beginning of its new fiscal year in July. The company plans to introduce its new channel chief at Microsoft Inspire, its annual partner conference that runs July 19-20.
Microsoft announced it was revamping its partner program and setting new recertification requirements for partners this past March. Beginning Oct. 3, the current Microsoft Partner Network will become the Microsoft Cloud Partner Program and will be focused on six areas: Azure data and artificial intelligence, Azure infrastructure, Azure digital and app innovation, business applications, “modern work” and security.The new two-level program will continue to be open to Microsoft’s current partners — resellers, systems integrators, managed services providers, device partners and independent software vendors — but Microsoft is changing the way it categorizes them to signal their cloud expertise and experience to customers. Those partners are a critical part of Microsoft’s success: The company previously has credited them with having a hand in 95% of its commercial revenue.