IBM taps Elix to drive sales, Lawrie leaves

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IBM has named Doug Elix senior vice-president and group executive, IBM Global Sales and Distribution to drive the company's sales effort.

Replacing Mike Lawrie, Elix has been tasked with bolstering "the teamwork and collaboration between sales, industry sectors and services," according to an internal document examined by CRN.

Lawrie is leaving the company for an outside opportunity as CEO of another company. Reportedly, Lawrie will take the CEO slot at Siebel Systems, with Tom Siebel relinquishing that post. That move makes sense because Lawrie spearheaded the IBM-Siebel alliance on a CRM On Demand offering. Details on Lawrie's move will be announced later Monday, according to an IBM insider.

Mike Borman, general manager of IBM Global Business Partners, who oversees the 90,000 IBM Business Partners worldwide, will now report to Elix. Borman previously reported to Lawrie.

"This should be viewed very positively by business partners looking to expand their services business," Borman said in a statement. "We've been on a journey to break down the internal walls and make it easier for partners to sell complete solutions -- that's what the integration of IBM's four separate PartnerWorld tracks into a single IBM PartnerWorld is all about. Doug Elix coming to Sales & Distribution will only bring greater cooperation with IBM Global Services and enable Business Partners to sell more services."

IBM is also moving John Joyce from his CFO slot to become senior vice-president and group executive of IBM Global Services. He will report to IBM Chairman Sam Palmisano, according to a memo from Palmisano sent to IBM employees Monday morning.

Mark Loughridge is the new senior vice-president and CFO. Loughridge has served as controller and worked for IBM in Europe and was most recently head of IBM Global Financing.

Elix has made significant progress in the past several years getting IGS to work more closely with Business Partners.

Laurie Benson, CEO of Inacom Information Systems, said the changes -- particularly Elix's appointment -- were a plus for IBM partners. "This is a really strategic move that IBM is making that is encouraging," she said. "This has solutions and partnering written all over it. To choose someone with the services background to be in the umbrella position with responsibility of overall sales has solutions written all over it. Elix has taken a leadership role with his willingness to be creative and innovative in getting IBM Global Services to work with the channel, specifically with [Ingram Micro's] VentureTech.

"IBM is very serious about taking a long-term position that technology will enable their customers to be successful, as opposed to focusing on transactions," added Benson. "This is a long-term positioning. They are taking a stand to be a long-term partner with their customers and with the channel."

One highlight of Elix's five-year tenure as IGS boss is the principles of engagement launched last year aimed at fostering sales cooperation between IGS and Business Partners.

Elix also was responsible for signing off on IGS' landmark pact with the VentureTech Network, which is expected to account for more than US$40 million in IGS-VentureTech deals this year.


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