What Will Red Hat Channel Chief Martin Bring to Partners?

As newly hired Red Hat channel chief D. Robert Martin settles down into his new role at the billion dollar open-source software company, channel partners are awaiting to hear more about what he has in store for Red Hat's channel partner program.

CJ Arlotta, Associate Editor

April 2, 2014

3 Min Read
Newly hired Red Hat channel chief D Robert Martin says Red Hat39s open source model is what attracted him to the company
Newly hired Red Hat channel chief D. Robert Martin says Red Hat's open source model is what attracted him to the company.

As newly hired Red Hat (RHT) channel chief D. Robert Martin settles down into his new role at the billion dollar open source software company, channel partners are waiting to hear more about what he has in store for Red Hat’s channel partner program.

Red Hat April 1 announced it had hired Martin as its vice president of North American Partner Sales to develop and execute its North America channel strategy and partner sales.

His responsibilities also include developing relationships with North American channel partners and driving sales through indirect channels.

The search for a new channel chief began immediately after former channel chief Roger Egan left in January for open source company Docker.

Red Hat’s list of candidates in mid-January was narrowed down to just under 10 candidates, Red Hat Global Channel Sales Senior Vice President Mark Enzweiler told The VAR Guy at the Red Hat Partner Conference.

Enzweiler at the time added that he would like the new channel chief to stay on course with the company’s channel strategy.

Martin served as vice president of Global Indirect Channels at VCE, where he was responsible for creating and executing the the company’s global channel sales strategy for the Vblock converged infrastructure platform.

His decision to depart from VCE wasn’t about leaving one company and moving onto another, Martin explained to The VAR Guy.

“I saw an opportunity for an organization in Red Hat that I provide a unique set of skills for,” he said. “When you look at my background in the various indirect channels, as well as my tenure at Cisco, I think with the analysis of the relationship between Red Hat and Cisco it’s kind of a unique set of skills with a role that required those at the time.”

Red Hat’s open source model, which is “clearly transforming what’s going on in IT,” is what attracted him to the company, he said.

“The model is open,” Martin said. “It’s future-proof. There’s no [vendor] lock-in, and it’s really cost-effective. I think that’s really strong.”

Martin said his 90-day plan is to work with teams internally at Red Hat to learn more about what they’re expecting of him and to listen to the partners to find out where Red Hat can improve. “My plan is to really provide those partners with the enablement that they can deliver maximum value to their customers, thereby increasing their revenues and their profits.”

Bradley Brodkin, president and CEO at HighVail Systems, a premier Red Hat partner, told The VAR Guy while he doesn’t know Martin personally, he’s heard a lot of positive feedback from the partner community, and “it’s clear that Red Hat is listening to their partners.”

“What I can absolutely say is we’re very happy they’ve filled Roger’s vacancy very quickly and with someone so experienced and well-respected in the channel,” he said. “They clearly recognize that their growth will not only come from the channel, but be driven by their partners as well.”

There’s a strong focus across all indirect channels at Red Hat, but the key to working with partners is to provide solutions that can mutually benefit Red Hat and partners, Martin said. “What I really want to go do is to be able to help drive profitable practices to those partners for Red Hat, where they provide their expertise in delivering solutions to customers.”

Martin said former channel chief Egan “did a real good job in building that foundation from a programs prospective and outlining the strategy.

“What I bring is being able to build upon those strategies, execute upon those strategies very effectively and leveraging my relationships with, not only the ISV, the OEM and the solution provider communities, but as well as companies like Cisco, which I have a long background with,” he said.

He added: “There’s a strong opportunity in front of us; let’s execute against that strong opportunity.”

Both North America Channel Sales and Alliances Senior Director Bob Wilson and North America Channel Sales Senior Director Jerry Lumpkin will report to Martin.

Follow CJ Arlotta on Twitter @cjarlotta and Google+ for further updates on the story above.

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About the Author(s)

CJ Arlotta

Associate Editor, Nine Lives Media, a division of Penton Media

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