Find out who’s been named to succeed McLin, as well as Michael Stephens, who left last week.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

January 24, 2022

4 Min Read
Shake-up, reorganization

Lisa McLin is no longer head of the Rackspace channel program.


Lisa McLin

“She went on just to pursue another opportunity,” a spokesperson confirmed to Channel Futures on Monday. “She’s been here for a long time. The time was just right for her to go explore other opportunities.”

Indeed, McLin worked at Rackspace for almost 20 years. She rounded out that tenure as global vice president alliances and channel chief. McLin, whose LinkedIn profile shows her as continuing to hold the job, led the managed cloud computing company’s channel program for almost five years. That slightly exceeds the typical shelf life for an executive in such a role.

“The industry average is 4.2 years for large company channel chiefs,” Forrester principal analyst Jay McBain has told Channel Futures.

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in December. Also be sure to check out our list of the most noteworthy people on the move in all of 2021!

McLin’s departure comes just a few days after that of Michael Stephens, indicating that Rackspace’s channel program has been under some pressure. (Stephens told Channel Futures he had met all his goals for the Rackspace channel program and he was ready to “find the next big challenge.”)

But Rackspace appears to have been planning for the shifts, as it has already named replacements for both McLin and Stephens.

Who’s Running the Rackspace Channel Program Now?

First up, Renee Taylor succeeds McLin, with a slightly different title of vice president of global alliances and channel chief. The company also has promoted Vicki Patten to director of channel sales and agent channel chief, filling the role Stephens vacated. She moves up from her previous role as global partner manager.


Rackspace’s Renee Taylor

Taylor comes to Rackspace from technology consulting giant Capgemini. At Capgemini, she served as Amazon Web Services partner sales executive and cloud portfolio alliance leader. Before that, Taylor held sales and partner-management roles at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Taylor has worked in different aspects of technology for 25 years, including in leadership, sales, alliances and business development in IT infrastructure, and cloud and digital transformation across enterprise, federal and public sector customers.

“I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible organization and group of partners,” Taylor wrote in a blog. “I look forward to spending quality time with our Rackspace partners and understanding where we can continue to support you in your rapidly transforming businesses, providing world-class solutions and fanatical support throughout 2022 and into the future.”

Patten, meanwhile, is a familiar face to partners, having been in the Rackspace channel program since August 2017. She now fills the role vacated by Stephens.


Rackspace’s Vicki Patten

“I look forward to continuing to build business continuity and grow partnerships in the channel that allow our partners to thrive and bring immense value to their customers,” Patten said.

Patten boasts more than 30 years in the technology sector. She has worked for companies including MultiTek global, Oracle and Sungard Availability Services.

Changes Rackspace Is Promising for the Channel Program

To be sure, the Rackspace channel program is going through changes. Rackspace isn’t saying why, although it is promising the following:

  • A higher level of support for strategic partners.

  • Consistent and improved communications.

  • Better analytics for enhanced productivity.

  • Improved sales campaign tools.

  • Consistent strategies and solutions for the Rackspace portfolio.

Reading between the lines, these bullet points indicate where the Rackspace channel program has lagged.

But Rackspace seems to be taking the proverbial bull by the horns. In addition to implementing the aforementioned changes, the company already plans for Taylor and Patten to meet with resellers at the upcoming 2022 Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. That’s key. It’s critical for vendors to put their channel leaders in front of partners and give them unscripted time together (something Forrester’s McBain has lamented about AWS).

Overall, look for both evolution in the Rackspace channel program throughout the coming year. In its blog, Rackspace says that, “coming off 40% growth in 2021,” the company will “continue to provide a fanatical experience for our channel partners.”

Rackspace teams with the top public and private cloud vendors. It then offers channel partners managed IT services, including for apps, hosting, colocation and security.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Kelly Teal or connect with her on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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