New HP Saudi boss keen to embrace channel

The new managing director of HP Saudi Arabia has told partners he will adopt an ‘open-door policy’

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By  Andrew Seymour Published  April 7, 2009

The new managing director of HP Saudi Arabia has told partners he will adopt an ‘open-door policy’ as he endeavours to place channel development at the heart of the vendor’s in-country strategy.

Ziad Mortaja, who left his role as head of Cisco Levant and North Africa to join the PC vendor earlier this week, intends to draw on his channel success with the networking firm as HP KSA prepares to split from its Middle East operation and function as a standalone entity later this year.

“I am definitely looking forward to working with the channel and achieving extremely healthy and transparent communication,” he revealed. “I always looked at the channel when I was with Cisco and I will continue to do the same at HP. It is the lung that we breathe through because without it we would not be able to execute on business.”

Mortaja, who will also lead the vendor’s Technology Solutions Group — an obligation attached to the managing director’s post — is keen to make himself an accessible figure to resellers and distributors in Saudi Arabia.

“My message to partners is that my door is open,” declared Mortaja. “I am going to be focused on developing the channel relationship and, at one point of time, I want us to be rated the best company when it comes to channel relationships — not only in Saudi Arabia but across the whole of the Middle East. That is the challenge I am undertaking. I think we have done things very well in Cisco over the last four years and I want to do the same here in HP.”

Mortaja has not yet sat down with members of HP’s Solutions Partner Organisation — the unit that oversees its channel affairs — but calls it a ‘top priority’ and says forthcoming meetings have been scheduled.

While HP has set its new boss the target of maintaining growth, he will also be tasked with overseeing the migration of the Saudi business to an independent entity before the end of the year.

As of November, the Saudi operation will no longer be part of HP Middle East. Instead it will serve as its own standalone profit centre, reporting directly to HP’s MEMA office.

A soft launch has already begun with HP’s Personal Systems Group, paving the way for the vendor to restructure its internal systems and split shared functions over the coming months to reflect the new set-up.

“We are not rushing this because we want to do it right, protect the team and ensure that everything is done in line with HP policies,” explained Mortaja. “It will definitely give us more focus and resources, and help us in the overall positioning of HP in the country. For HP in Saudi that will mean more dedication and a better visibility of the business."

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