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HP this week officially confirmed that channel veteran and former Lenovo executive Stephen DiFranco has been hired to run the company’s channel operations in the Americas.

DiFranco will replace Adrian Jones as vice president and general manager of HP Solutions Partners Organization, Americas, after nearly a five-month search process. HP will be making a public announcement about DiFranco before the end of the week, according to company officials.

HP partners have been eagerly awaiting the appointment of a new channel chief, with many lamenting the length of time the search has taken and the general lull in channel-related initiatives and activity since Jones moved into a new role at HP last November. HP had originally sought an internal candidate for the position before deciding to look outside and hire DiFranco.

Lenovo officials confirmed DiFranco’s resignation with the company last week. He spent two years at Lenovo as vice president and general manager of consumer and commercial channels. Lenovo has begun a search for his replacement; Chris Frey will serve in an acting role until a permanent hiring—which could include Frey—takes place.

DiFranco takes the reins at a pivotal time for HP—and the industry as a whole. The massive bout of data center convergence has changed the competitive and alliance landscape for many of the largest IT vendors, including HP, which is now locked in battle against former ally Cisco. HP sells networking equipment, Cisco now sells servers, and the lines are no longer distinct between the two companies. Last month, Cisco formally severed its longstanding partnering alliance with HP in a clear indicator that the gloves are off.