Schell's farewell

Christoph Schell, HP’s solution partners organisation (SPO) boss for the ISE region is heading Down Under to take on a role at HP South Pacific after eight years in the Middle East. Channel Middle East had a farewell chat with Mr. Schell

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By  Stuart Wilson Published  February 22, 2006

|~|hpcschell200.jpg|~|Christoph Schell, HP’s SPO boss for the ISE region|~|Christoph Schell, HP’s solution partners organisation (SPO) boss for the ISE region is heading Down Under to take on a role at HP South Pacific after eight years in the Middle East. Channel Middle East had a farewell chat with Mr. Schell.

CME: Why is now the right time to move on from the Middle East?

CHRISTOPH SCHELL: It was a question of when to leave the ISE region. I have been in the region in various roles for eight years. I concluded that the right time may have been a little bit earlier but decided to do the SPO role. I think I had a long enough stint in ISE and Middle East roles and decided to go for this new opportunity and was fortunate enough to get the job.

CME: What territory does the new role cover and who will replace you at the SPO boss for ISE?

CS: South Pacific is New Zealand, Australia and some of the islands in that region as well. I migrate by 1st April but keep responsibility for SPO ISE during that month. It aligns the change over with HP’s second quarter. We are busy interviewing for a replacement now and I think there are a couple of strong candidates that Jos Brenkel will speak to. I believe a decision will be made by the middle of March.

CME: Will it be an internal or an external candidate?

CS: Both internal and external candidates are being considered. The preference is for an internal candidate because of the complexity of the role — as you know SPO works across all HP business units so you need a good understanding of how HP works from an internal point of view. You also need to be able to balance indirect go to market objectives with direct objectives. It would take an external candidate time to understand that so the preference is for internal.

CME: What are your proudest achievements of your time spent in Middle East and ISE roles?

CS: I believe that the introduction of an open distribution model is one. When I came here in 1998 we still had a lot of sole distributors and partners. That was a tough nut to crack and we also needed to keep partners loyal after we introduced competition. I think that worked out well. Supply chain initiatives that we introduced, such as putting in a hub at Jebel Ali, also stand out. That made the Dubai office more than just a sales office. Then there was the merger [with Compaq]. I think every employee that lived through that merger is pleased with what we accomplished. Looking after the 102 countries in ISE was a very interesting time and that gave me exposure to HP’s non volume business — the services and value sales. I’m proud that all the units within HP function extremely well.

CME: Are you pleased with the rollout of the preferred partner programme (PPP) in ISE?

CS: It’s doing well and we are seeing if it pans out as we planned it. The programme went live February 1st and we have been solid in pushing through the guidelines. In ISE we have not approved a single exception to the PPP criteria. It looks solid and I believe we’re on the right track.

CME: How has the channel structure evolved in the last eight years?

CS: I think the Middle East has come a long way, but there is further to go. I really believe on the reseller side that even more focus is needed. In terms of value, some resellers could build even more vertical focus to reflect the portfolio they carry. I see more loyalty from resellers and I think that is vital. To be multibrand at a final tier level is a costly undertaking from a training and certification perspective. They are now narrowing down the number of vendors they carry. I see this in Saudi Arabia and the UAE but other countries still have some way to go.

CME: What have you seen in terms of the distribution channel?

CS: We have some great logistics companies in the region but we do not yet have so many who are great at the channel development role. The LSP side is well developed but the CDP side needs enhancing. We need to link distributor performance to the value it brings to HP — so we’re looking at attach rates and talking about selling the entire portfolio. If they do not do the CDP function then distributors do not receive part of the compensation. The CDP function accounts for approximately three quarters of distributor compensation so if they are not investing in country and building up a skilled sales force they are missing a massive opportunity.

CME: Now that you’re moving to Australia, what’s going to happen to your Porsche?

CS: It’s not only the Porsche, it’s pretty much any car that I own — so my little Pajero too. I do not think I will be able to take them because I am not an Australian citizen and they are also unfortunately left hand drive. You tell me, what should I do? Should I sell the Porsche or should I ship it back to Germany.
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