Intel’s Jason Kimrey To Lead North America Commercial, Partner Sales In New Role

The new role puts Jason Kimrey in charge of Intel’s North American sales efforts with channel partners, Fortune 500 companies and communications service providers, which he says will help partners grow with the semiconductor giant in strategic areas like AI computing.

Intel has promoted U.S. channel chief Jason Kimrey to an expanded role that puts him in charge of the chipmaker’s North American sales efforts with channel partners, Fortune 500 companies and communications service providers.

Effective last Thursday, Kimrey’s new title at Intel is vice president of the newly created North America commercial and partner sales organization, which exists within the Sales, Marketing and Communications Group, the semiconductor giant told CRN exclusively.

[Related: Intel: AI PCs Will Appeal To Businesses But Don’t Expect ‘Hockey-Stick’ Growth]

In an interview, Kimrey said Intel plans to announce soon the person who will take over his previous role as vice president of U.S. channel and partner programs.

“This will still be part of my organization, but I want to make sure that [for] the immediate needs of the channel and our partners, that we have clear ownership and focus there,” he said.

The company gave Kimrey the elevated role in conjunction with the creation of his new group, which combined the U.S. channel scale and partners team he previously led with teams managing relationships with large U.S. enterprise customers, U.S. communications service providers as well as Canadian customers and partners.

Greg Ernst, general manager of Americas sales at Intel, called Kimrey’s “well-deserved” promotion a “pivotal moment” for his organization.

“The creation of this new team will accelerate co-selling motions, customer enablement, and drive consistency across the ecosystem through creating a more formalized linkage with our global account teams,” he said in a statement.

“Our commitment to delivering unparalleled value to our customers is one of our top priorities. Through Jason's visionary leadership and dedication to customer-centric strategies, we will unlock unprecedented opportunities and drive transformative growth,” Ernst added.

It’s the second biggest personnel change for Intel’s North American channel partners this year after the chipmaker in early January appointed Trevor Vickers to take over John Kalvin’s role as global channel chief, officially general manager of the Global Partners and Support organization. Kalvin now leads a new organization called Go To Market Operations.

An executive at one of North America’s largest IT distributors lauded the move to combine Intel’s “fragmented” partner and enterprise teams and provide a “cohesive message” for the commercial IT market as “by far the best thing Intel’s ever done.”

“Now that we understand how the programs are going to flow from us to the partner to the end user, that I think is going to just enhance the business in a way that we'll be more comfortable buying more product from Intel,” said Gary Palenbaum, executive vice president of sales and vendor management at Fremont, Calif.-based TD Synnex.

Why Intel Formed The North America Commercial and Partner Sales Group

Kimrey said Ernst decided to merge the company’s North America channel, enterprise, communications service provider and Canada sales teams into one organization to ensure that the previously disparate teams “operate as one Intel” and “bring the best of what Intel has to offer to the entire commercial market in a single voice.”

While Intel only sells products through partners, the chipmaker has direct relationships with Fortune 500 companies and other large enterprise customers, and the reorganization ensures that those customers have a “clear mapping to our partners to bring the full value of what Intel has to offer,” according to Kimrey.

“If it works, they should see that they're winning more business with Intel, that Intel as a percentage of their business will grow because we're effectively not just getting to market with great programs, we're pulling it through on the go-to-market side with our customers,” he said.

Kimrey said the reorganization will also reduce complexity for partners and customers and make it easier for them to do business with Intel, which falls in line with the larger company transformation CEO Pat Gelsinger has been pushing for the last three years.

“This is just another example of where we're trying to reduce layers and just drive a more efficient structure to bring the most value to our customers through our partners,” he said.

New Group Will Help Intel Compete In Growth Areas Like AI

The decision to create the North America commercial and partner sales organization is important to how the chipmaker will sell chips and other products for growing and competitive markets like cloud infrastructure and AI computing, according to Kimrey.

These are key markets where Gelsinger hopes Intel will grow as part of his comeback plan. The company’s success in those areas hinges on its ability to convince both partners and customers to adopt its products over those from a growing field of rivals, ranging from AMD and Nvidia to startups and other companies designing their own chips, like Amazon Web Services and Apple.

“If you think about what's happening in AI and Intel's push around ‘AI everywhere,’ customers aren't looking for bespoke hardware, software, services, solutions. They're looking for solutions to their problem, and we think bringing that together and driving an even more cohesive and coordinated message to our customers is a good thing,” Kimrey said.

Intel’s expansion into the AI computing space is not just about selling accelerator chips like Gaudi 2 into data centers. It also includes a new class of processors, starting with the December launch of the Core Ultra chips, that bring new AI capabilities to PCs.

Kimrey said his new organization will play a key role in ensuring Intel’s distributors, partners and customers are aligned on what the chipmaker can offer in the nascent AI PC market, which is expected to grow fast over the next few years according to recent analyst forecasts.

“I think the AI PC is a great opportunity for the industry, Intel and our partners. We really want to drive a very coordinated sales focus and sales push around the AI PC, from our customers to our partners, to our distributors, and making sure that's very connected,” he said.