Microsoft has named Gavriella Schuster as its new global channel chief, succeeding Phil Sorgen. Schuster was running the partner program on an interim basis in recent months as Sorgen transitioned to a new post.

Schuster is well-known across the IT channel and within Microsoft circles. As the new Corporate Vice President for Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group (WPG), she brings 20+ years of Microsoft partner-focused experience to the Channel Chief role, the company notes.

Schuster moves into Microsoft's top channel slot at a critical time for the company. Microsoft's board has been evaluating sales models and go-to-market strategies in recent months -- especially amid the shift to cloud services. It's unclear if or how those board efforts will shape the company's partner strategy going forward.

Schuster has been a strong advocate of Microsoft's Cloud Solutions Provider partner efforts. She described the strategy in  a recent podcast with ChannelE2E and CompTIA CEO Todd Thibodeaux. The conversation was recorded in May 2016, roughly six weeks before today's announcement.

Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster Podcast

More clues about her views and strategies will likely emerge next month, when Schuster is set to keynote Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 in Toronto.