VMware promotes Simon Powell to Canadian channel chief role

Simon Powell, Director of the VMware Canada Partner Organization.

VMware Canada has formally appointed Simon Powell as Director of the Canada Partner Organization. He had previously been Head of Corporate Resellers in Canada for VMware before that. Indeed, much like Fine, who joined Dell after completing university, and then moved on to VMware when both companies were part of the same corporate family, Powell’s history in the IT sector has been pretty much the same, starting with Dell and moving to VMware, with a short one-year cup of coffee at Gartner between the two.

While Powell’s appointment became official on December 1, he had in point of fact been performing the duties for some time before that.

“I’ve been on this team reporting to Tara for four and a half years,” Powell told ChannelBuzz. “I took on the interim responsibilities around Explore [August 29–September 1] at the same time Tara took on the global ones, so have effectively been three months on the job.”

Powell formally takes on the Canadian role at a time when the company as a whole faces the possibility of turbulence, both from the Broadcom acquisition, which still has not closed, and from the uncertain state of the economy, with economic analysts seemingly divided whether we are headed into a recession or headed into a bad recession.

Powell acknowledged the partner concern about Broadcom, which has had a murky channel history with its acquisitions of Symantec and CA – something that is a concern given that VMware is close to 100% channel in their Go-to-Market

“There is relevance to that conversation,” he said. “I believe in overcommunicating. We believe in our partnerships. We are committed to them with or without Broadcom. We set out our aspirational goals a year and a half ago on moving from cloud chaos to cloud smart.”

On the other hand, he noted that Broadcom continues to say all the right things.

“Hock [Hock E. Tan, Broadcom’s CEO] has done a really good job in identifying where VMware fits in the grand scheme of things and what that playbook will look like,” Powell said. “When it comes to Broadcom overall, the playbook that has been used in the past is not the one that will be used with VMware. Hock has reiterated this in multiple blogs over the last little while.”

Most companies traditionally express optimism about their chances of doing well in down economic times, although of course many do not achieve this, but Powell thinks VMware will be one of the ones that does.

“I believe that we are in a great position because of our multi-cloud message,” he said. “Our partners play a big part of that. They understand our customers’ transformation, and they will drive that transformation in the marketplace.”

Powell noted that this transformation is bringing about significant changes in the partner ecosystem.

“We just brought on someone to lead our GSI and Alliance business – companies like Deloitte and Accenture, and also HPE and Lenovo,” he said. “We also have a strong relationship with hyperscalers that we didn’t have on the same scale two years ago. The ecosystem certainly does continue to change.”

Powell also laid out his vision for his new role.

“I have an advantage, having been on the team for close to five years, which has also included being aligned with Bill Swales and Sandy Hogan in the U.S,” he said. “Having been around for a while is an advantage.

“Communication has always been a high priority for me, especially now around Broadcom and multi-cloud, and I will put communication centre stage,” he added. There are also some things that we will transform, but I will continue to be the biggest partner advocate throughout this.”