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Hewlett-Packard announced its new channel chief, Adrian Jones, on March 2, and since then there seems to be but one response from the channel: “Who is Adrian Jones?”

Jones, 40, comes from a much smaller company with a much different channel—storage vendor McDATA.

But no matter, partners reached for comment seem to have a significant amount of faith in the HP program and management that they trust the appointment will work.

“I feel that the prime mission from HP right now is to stay on the main road they’ve been on with resellers,” said Rick Chernick, chief executive officer of Camera Corner Connecting Point,of Green Bay, Wis. “It’s not about one guy in one position. So this doesn’t change things that much. But I have much trust in the management team and know they aren’t shaking anything up and this guy can do the job.”

VARs seem equally unconcerned about his ability to handle one of the industry’s largest channels coming from the smaller McDATA, said David Tan, chief technology officer of CHIPS Computer Consulting,in Lake Success, N.Y.

HP, which spent two years earning trust back in the channel under Jones’ predecessors John Thompson and Kevin Gilroy, is now considered the standard bearer among vendors concerning the importance of protecting a channel, Chernick said. “Other vendors are now looking to them and following their lead because it has been so successful. I don’t think they’re changing anything.”

Jones and company appear to agree.

During Jones’ introduction to reporters and editors March 5, Jones and Mike Larson, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s Personal Systems Group in the Americas, drove home the message that little would change with the new channel appointment.

Jones was embarking on a listening tour, visiting as many partners and distributors as he can in 60 days, something he said will be a hallmark of his term at HP.

Larson said the selection committee settled on Jones because of his international experience and success with value channels, which perhaps signals a greater reliance on solutions.

We’ll wait for him to tell us, because no one knows him yet.