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Aruba Names Regional Director To Replace Channel Icon Donna Grothjan

Joseph F. Kovar

‘Lene will continue building upon our unmatched legacy of commitment to our partners by evolving and growing our channel programs with a laser focus on supplying the comprehensive tools and support our partners and the channel community need for success in this changing business environment,’ wrote Alain Carpentier, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Aruba, in a Tuesday blog.

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Lene Skov

HPE Aruba Networking Monday said it has named Lene Skov as its new vice president of worldwide channels.

Skov, a four-year Aruba veteran, is taking the role vacated late last month with the retirement of longtime Aruba channel chief Donna Grothjan.

Skov has some big shoes to fill in her new role. Grothjan spent nine years at Aruba, and played a key role in ensuring partner sales growth in the midst of HPE’s $3 billion acquisition of Aruba in 2015. Furthermore, she was one of the architects of the HPE Partner Ready Vantage program—the GreenLake ecosystem program that for the first time united both the HPE and Aruba portfolios in an end-to-end edge-to-cloud channel program.

[Related: Aruba Atmosphere 2023: HPE CEO Antonio Neri’s 5 Boldest Statements ]

Grothjan set a phenomenal path during her time at Aruba, said Felise Katz, CEO at PKA Technologies, a Suffern, New York-based solution provider and longtime HPE and Aruba channel partner.

“Everybody contributes with their own experiences to continue the growth trajectory as we’ve seen with Aruba,” Katz told CRN. “Aruba is a crown jewel of HPE. I’m looking forward to meeting Lene and building a relationship with her.”

Katz said she is a big fan of Aruba, and looks forward to growing PKA’s relationship with the company with the support of Skov.

“When I say Aruba is the crown jewel of HPE, I’m not exaggerating,” she said. “We built a strong infrastructure practice around Aruba, and are looking forward to greater success.”

Katz also said she is happy to see Aruba give the channel chief position to a woman.

“Women are still a minority in this industry,” she said. “And when a woman like Donna holds a position or responsibility like she did, it’s great to see another take over. Women make the best executives.”

Neither Aruba nor Skov were available to comment.

However, Alain Carpentier, senior vice president of worldwide sales at Aruba, wrote in a Tuesday blog post that he has big expectations for Skov.

“Lene will continue building upon our unmatched legacy of commitment to our partners by evolving and growing our channel programs with a laser focus on supplying the comprehensive tools and support our partners and the channel community need for success in this changing business environment,” Carpentier wrote.

Skov, in her four years with Aruba where she served as regional director for Northern Europe, managed a 20-percent annual growth in the region while doubling its SaaS and networking-as-a-service orders every year, Carpentier wrote.

“Further, Lene’s proven proficiency in change management and transformation – and a rare combination of knowing the business from the end user through the partner perspectives – will enable her to support our partners as they strive to help their customers embrace digital transformation, meet changing end user expectations, find ways to be more efficient, understand emerging AI-based technologies, and explore cloud and as-a-service business models,” he wrote.

Grothjan told CRN that she is currently closing out all her last-minute activities at Aruba and getting ready for retirement.

“I’m taking time to relax,” she said. “I don’t have to wake up to an alarm clock. I’m seeing friends and family, and now I have time to pursue some board roles.”

Grothjan said Skov, with whom she worked for four years, is a great choice to take over the worldwide channel leadership role at Aruba.

“Lene has a background not only running one of Aruba’s largest geos in EMEA, but also previously worked at one of Aruba’s largest channel partners, Atea,” she said. “And she has a software background which is important as Aruba does more with network-as-a-service going forward.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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