Oracle Taps HP Exec as New Channel Chief

New Oracle channel chief Rich Geraffo

New Oracle channel chief Rich Geraffo

Oracle is looking to get more out of its channels and is looking to new leadership to get the job done. Rich Geraffo, a former Hewlett-Packard and VMware executive, will take over worldwide alliances and channels, reporting directly to president Mark Hurd, the company announced yesterday.

Geraffo, who most recently served as senior vice president and managing director of HP’s Enterprise Business unit, will oversee the 25,000-partner strong Oracle PartnerNetwork, and charged with driving new initiatives to stimulate channel sales.

“Rich Geraffo’s industry expertise and leadership experience will be instrumental in driving new growth for Oracle and our partners. We are thrilled he has chosen to join Oracle,” said Oracle President Mark Hurd in a statement. “Oracle PartnerNetwork is an incredibly valuable part of our business and I am confident that Rich will be able to cultivate our partner community and help them capitalize on new opportunities with Oracle.”

Geraffo comes to Oracle with an extensive experience in technology sales and vendor operations. In addition to his time at HP, he served as VMware’s vice president and general manager of the Americas region, where he oversaw sales, professional services, channel, marketing and field operations. He also held executive and sales positions at BEA Systems, IBM and Merrill Lynch.

“Oracle has one of the most extensive and enviable partner communities in the industry,” said Geraffo. “I am honored by the opportunity to lead such an organization and look forward to working closely with our partners to deliver new innovations and value to joint customers worldwide.”

The appointment of Geraffo comes at Oracle is trying to get its partners to do more sales across its broad software, hardware and cloud portfolio. At last month’s OracleWorld conference, North America channel chief Tom LaRocco, also a former HP executive, implored partners to expand their capabilities and conduct more attached sales.

“Today, we have a lot of hardware partners that are good at delivering an infrastructure solution in the data center. I have a lot of partners that are great at selling middleware and applications. Partner nirvana for me is [a] partner [that] can go in and sell an application all the way down to the disk and sell everything in between; he can sell the entire ‘red stack,’” LaRocca said.

Oracle remains the world’s largest database and business software company. However, it’s playing catchup in cloud computing products and services. And, its hardware business, the former Sun Microsystems, continues to be a drag on overall sales and revenue performance. Oracle believes getting traditional software partners to push hardware products, and vice versa, will jumpstart and accelerate overall growth.

The significance of Geraffo’s appointment is reflected in that he reports directly to Hurd, who is charged with improving Oracle’s hardware sales. Hurd, who spent six years at the helm of HP, is well known for engaging channel partners to reverse product declines and accelerate revenue increases.

All of this adds up to Oracle getting more aggressive in driving channel sales and, potentially, displacing rivals in solution provider priorities.