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Microsoft NZ expands channel team

20 Jun 13

Microsoft's New Zealand branch is boosting its channel team with three new appointments, reflecting a move into services and devices.

All taking effect from July 1, Microsoft’s director of Small Midmarket Solutions and Partner Group Chris Ichter says the recruitments highlight the company's expansion within the New Zealand channel market.

“Microsoft’s focus is to enable Kiwi businesses through a family of compelling devices and services and we rely heavily on our partner network to deliver this vision," he says.

"The announcements today reflect our commitment to helping our partners achieve this, by promoting and recruiting people with cloud computing knowledge as well as experience as channel partners in their own right.”

Steve Hornblow has been promoted to the lead for Microsoft’s partner team in the role of Channel Sales manager – Partners, joining the company in 2008 as Solution Specialist in the Enterprise Partner Group (EPG) team.

It was during this role that Hornblow looked after the partner hosting business and progressed to the role of Microsoft New Zealand’s cloud lead.

More recently he has been a Partner Account Manager in the Partner Team, bringing a long background of sales experience, seven years with Telecom, and business leadership to the channel team including three years as general manager of a systems integration partner.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to evolve and strengthen our partner relationship as we continue our transformation around services and devices," Hornblow says.

Reporting to Hornblow will be Puneet Batra, the new Partner Sales executive, previously known as Partner Account manager, for Gen-i, Revera and Intergen.

Batra’s career spans more than 20 years during which he has worked with Axon and Gen-i. He joined Microsoft as a consultant in 2001 in the services team and moved to Consumer Channels Group in 2011, where he was in charge of Hosting, Office 365 syndication and Windows phone.

“Gen-i is our largest partner and has gone through huge transformation over the last few months including the acquisition of Revera," Batra says.

"I’m looking forward to being part of their rebuilding of Microsoft capabilities and growing their MS cloud offerings and alignment with Microsoft as a services and devices company."

Microsoft's final appointment sees Riki Plester become the company's new small medium business (SMB) Tele-Partner Account manager, after returning from 16 months in London where he worked for a reseller called SoftwareONE.

Previously holding roles at Express Data as Microsoft Product manager and Partner Account manager, Microsoft says Plester has an in-depth view of what Microsoft Partners are looking for and will report to Heather Gordon in his role.