Microsoft Split Channel Role into Two Ahead of Inspire

In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft announced that Nicole Dezen will assume the newly created title of Chief Partner Officer ( CPO ) as well as retaining her Corporate Vice President of Global Partner Solutions role.

According to a report at ZDNET by Mary Jo Foley, Dezen will not be the new channel chief. Previously the channel chief role was held by Rodney Clark who departed for Johnson Controls where he became VP and Chief Commercial Officer in May 2022.

According to a statement from Microsoft which was supplied to ZDNET:

The channel chief role, previously held by Rodney Clark, will be split into two distinct leadership roles; one of which will be directly tied to sales with our channel partners and led by David Smith, new VP Channel Sales; and the other led by Julie Sanford, VP GTM, Programs and Experiences, with direct accountability for programs and offerings. The decision to evolve what formerly had been a single role into two distinct areas of responsibility is a reflection of the growing importance and breadth of our partner ecosystem all-up.

These moves come amidst significant partner changes with Microsoft recently postponing a revamped billing program termed New Customer Experience ( NCE ) that potentially sees partners taking on more of a financial role with customer licensing.