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Channel veteran Neels du Plooy exits VMware

Departs software vendor after almost nine years

Neels du Plooy has vacated his role as channel director across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) at VMware, exiting the software vendor after almost nine years.

ARN can exclusively reveal that du Plooy -- who joined the business in May 2012 -- has departed effective immediately amid plans to take a short break before starting efforts to return to a channel-facing role in the near future.

“After a long decision process, and a very big year personally in 2020, I've decided to take a bit of a break,” said du Plooy, when speaking exclusively to ARN. “I want to take some time out to ensure that I make the correct decision for my next career move.

“I have a sincere appreciation of the privilege to have been able to lead a team of such awesome people at VMware. Also to the great leaders -- both internally and externally -- that were part of my journey over the last nine years.”

Drawing on more than 15 years market experience in Australia and his native South Africa, du Plooy’s ecosystem career started in early 2000 as a channel account manager for Avaya, before spending more than eight years driving partner engagement at Cisco.

Following almost two years at ShoreTel, du Plooy first joined VMware as senior partner business manager before assuming the elevated role of head of channels in September 2016.

Meanwhile in 2019, du Plooy took home the Channel Excellence honours at the ARN Innovation Awards, recognised for spearheading the roll-out of VMware’s new partner operating model in A/NZ, in a global first for the vendor.

“I am very fortunate to have been with VMware for such an extended period of time, which in-turn exposed me to many different aspects of our business,” du Plooy added. “Looking back there were many highlights, which includes redefining the partner operating model and rolling this out first in A/NZ.

“This is in addition to helping scope the new distribution model as part of the global system integrator and system outsourcer [SISO] leadership team building out a business to better partner with some of the largest global system integrators and outsourcers while also proposing a new partner support function, which is now being rolled out across Asia Pacific and Japan [APJ].

“All of this was made possible due to the great leaders -- in A/NZ, APJ and globally -- that I've worked closely with and who supported me so well throughout my career.”

Going forward, du Plooy outlined a desire to continue operating within the channel upon completing a short break, with a focus on driving partner and vendor ecosystem growth.

“There are so many great organisations out there that offer unique value to partners and customers, it's about finding the best fit,” he added. “I am lucky that I have extensive experience across both software and hardware vendors so will want to ensure that I can utilise my skills and experience in an organisation where I can add value and help them grow.

“We live in a world and era where the only constant is change. We have to help our partners to redefine business models as well as build and expand solutions and offerings. You have to be flexible and adaptable in your approach but also proactive to ensure you maintain your lead.”

In response to a request for comment from ARN, a spokesperson for VMware confirmed that a search for du Plooy's replacement is now underway.

“VMware wishes Neels the best in his future endeavours and thanks him for his commitment to our partners during his time with the business,” a statement read. “VMware is committed to our partners across Australia and New Zealand, and while we search for a replacement, our regional and local leaders and our skilled partner team will continue to work very closely with our valued partner ecosystem.”

The move comes days after VMware appointed Dicker Data as a new distributor in Australia, keeping Ingram Micro and terminating Tech Data in one of the most impactful channel overhauls in recent years.

This is in addition to Rhipe and Westcon remaining within the VMware Cloud Provider Program (VCPP) — which wasn’t included in the review — and Dell Technologies continuing to distribute VMware solutions, as revealed by ARN.

The departure of du Plooy follows that of Kerrie-Anne Turner who exited as senior director and head of Commercial Business and Channels across A/NZ in late 2020.