DiFranco Vacating Channel Slot to Lead HP’s PSG Business
Hewlett-Packard is doing some management shuffling in the wake of its recent webOS TouchPad launch. Stephen DiFranco, head of HP’s Solutions Partner Organization, is moving into the position of senior vice president and general manager for the Americas region in HP’s Personal Systems Group (PSG), replacing Stephen DeWitt. Why the sudden shift, and why DiFranco? Read on …
First, a little background: PSG is the group that focuses on everything from business computers and related products to high-end gaming PCs, including connected digital devices such as external drives and media servers. DeWitt is shifting over to become senior vice president and general manager of the webOS global business unit within PSG, heading up all things webOS-related. Could his appointment be due to the lukewarm market response to HP’s TouchPad? I think it’s likely (and CNET’s pretty much confirmed it).
In his new role, DiFranco will head up the marketing, sales and operations strategy for PSG in the United States, Canada and Latin America, and will be responsible for the financial performance of both the commercial and consumer business. That’s a sea change from his 20-or-so years leading channel organizations at vendors including HP, Lenovo, AMD and Maxtor. However, he’s not completely out of the channel, at least for now — until he hand-picks his successor at SPO, DiFranco also will continue to oversee the operations for the group.
According to HP, DiFranco was chosen for the position because of his success leading the HP channel partner program. Under his leadership, HP’s channel organization underwent changes resulting in “alignment and collaboration,” which means more profitable and happier HP partners. HP wants to grow and drive PSG deeper into the entire North American region, and it’s now DiFranco’s job to make sure that happens.
This shift represents an interesting move for DiFranco, who hasn’t worked in a position that doesn’t directly touch the channel in a long time. They say once you’re in the channel, you’re in for life. Maybe that explains why DiFranco’s willing to do double-duty at HP for a while.