Microsoft veteran and partner chief Gavriella Schuster is out as CVP of Commercial Partner

Gavriella Schuster, a 25-year Microsoft veteran is passing the reseller-partner-program leadership torch to another Microsoft veteran, Rodney Clark.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft Corporate Vice President of Commercial Partner and a 25-year company veteran, is leaving her current role as Corporate Vice President of Commercial Partner. Schuster blogged about her departure on March 30 in a post called "Time to pass the torch." She did not say in her post what she will be doing next.

Schuster is being replaced by Rodney Clark, who becomes the Corporate Vice President of Global Channel Sales. He also is a Microsoft veteran (23 years) and has worked previously as Corporate Vice President of IoT and Mixed Reality Sales. He also served previously as the General Manager of the Microsoft-Samsung Alliance, among other roles.

Schuster said that the best part of her job as head of Microsoft's One Commercial Partner team, Partner Channels and programs for the past five years, has been helping partners build their businesses, plus coaching and mentoring individuals. She said she would be working with Clark "over the coming months" on his transition and to help her teams close the fiscal year strong. Microsoft's fiscal 2021 ends on June 30, 2021.

"The restrictions brought on by COVID have given me time to reflect on and reconnect with my passions and to spark a new passion to drive a movement to shift the status quo and make an impact on inclusion and gender equity in the tech industry." She pointed to a TEDx talk she gave on that topic.

Update (March 31): I read Schuster's post as meaning she is leaving Microsoft. But maybe she's just changing jobs. I've asked for comment and will update if there's any official statement.

Update No. 2 (March 31). The official statement doesn't shed much light on whether she will stay or go. A spokesperson said: ""Gavriella is staying at the company to affect a smooth transition to Rodney, and as part the process of determining the next chapter of her career. She is excited to evaluate her options."  

Schuster has held a variety of roles during her Microsoft career. Her LinkedIn profile mentions her role in creating the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), as well her work as General Manager of Microsoft's U.S. Cloud and Enterprise Commercial Business and Datacenter and as General Manager of the Windows Product Management Group in the Windows 7/Windows 8 years.  

Microsoft has been taking a more active role in partnering directly with customers in the past couple years and even calls its larger customers "partners." The company continues to rely on its large network of reseller and integration partners to address the small- and midsize (SMB) part of the market. Microsoft last year stepped up its direct sales focus with its increasingly strategic Microsoft Consulting business.

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