Ernest Jones, the new North American partner leader, will develop strategic partner relationships and expand the company’s customer base.
Red Hat Linux has hired former IBM executive Ernest Jones as its new North American partner leader. Jones, who also previously worked for Oracle, is Red Hat’s new vice president for North America commercial partners and alliances.
Jones has extensive industry experience in leading global technology sales and channel operations. At Oracle, he was vice president of North America cloud solutions, while at IBM he served as vice president of enterprise server sales for North America. He also was the co-founder and chief operations and revenue officer for vVents.com, an enterprise live-streaming cloud-based platform.
Jones replaces D. Martin, who was Red Hat’s vice president of sales for six years following his departure from Cisco.
Jones, who started his new post on March 23, told Channel Futures that it was strange moving into his new job during the COVID-19 pandemic because he couldn’t share in what traditionally would be live meetings with co-workers and partners.
Instead, he began by participating in a virtual sales kickoff meeting held with co-workers and North American partners.
“We all want to get out of the office and shake hands and meet the team,” said Jones. “But I just haven’t been able to do that yet.”
Jones said his time at IBM and Oracle allowed him to watch Red Hat evolve into what it is today. “I remember wholeheartedly being in meetings with Verizon and AT&T and hearing them talk about moving away from proprietary software. Red Hat has made significant strides in regards to its positioning.”
As he starts out at Red Hat Linux, Jones said he doesn’t anticipate making any huge changes to its channel operations.
“I’ve not been here for even a complete month yet,” he said. “But it’s apparent to me that the partner ecosystem here is one of the best I’ve ever seen. Partners have been an important multiplier for Red Hat over the years. Without the close relationships we’ve built, we would certainly look very different.”
As he settles into his new job, Jones said he’ll have more time to assess the company’s partner program. At that point, perhaps his new set of eyes will reveal some things that can be improved, he said.
Jones said he’s not new to open source software, having worked with OpenStack for the last three years.
Two things he particularly likes already about working at Red Hat are the company’s startup mentality and culture, he said.
“That led itself well to me landing here,” said Jones.
He recalls 20 years ago when people were wondering how open source Red Hat Linux was going to make money. Since then, it’s become very apparent as the company has grown and prospered, he said. “Now IBM spent a significant amount of money [$34 billion in July 2019] to acquire us.”
Jones said one of his goals will be to help scale it from $5 billion in revenue to $10 billion. He also wants to help ramp up its cloud, container and Kubernetes business as well.
“The ability of OpenShift is that it allows clients to move freely and with agility in the multicloud environment,” said Jones. “That’s a huge differentiator.”
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