Intel partners are mourning the passing of former CEO Paul Otellini, whom they credit for leading Intel through its "glory years," increasing profitability for the company and the channel.
Otellini, who was the first non-engineer to take the lead at the chip company, passed away in his sleep Monday, Oct. 2, according to an Intel statement. He was 66.
Solution provider lauded Otellini for his strong commitment to the Intel channel.
"It's a big loss," said Donna Shepherd, senior vice president of Dallas-based M&A Technology, an Intel partner. "Under the leadership of Paul, the channel seemed like it was everything to Intel. They focused on their channel program, on promoting channel programs, on funding events for channel partners. They focused on being the support mechanism for partners… the channel flourished in those years, and that was all Paul's doing."
Under Otellini’s leadership, Intel dramatically stepped up its investment in the channel, in 2011 launching a new partner program – the now iconic Intel Technology Provider Program – that unified resellers and system builders all under a single program.
The program helped the partners better tap into industry trends by integrating Intel’s embedded and compute technologies as well as its enterprise and consumer technologies.
Otellini, who became the company's fifth CEO in 2005 and regularly appeared on the CRN Top 25 list of the most influential executives, drove higher sales growth during his eight-year tenure than the company achieved in its previous 45 years.
In the last full year before he took over as CEO Intel had $34 billion in sales. When Otellini retired in 2013, Intel had grown to $53 billion.
Erik Stromquist, COO of CTL, a Portland, Ore.-based system builder and Intel partner, who worked with Otellini a number of times as an Intel Board of Advisory member, said that the former executive was "down to earth, friendly, and willing to listen."
"He was always very supportive of the channel… he was willing to listen to us and tell us straight up what's going on in the market. I think he helped amplify business with the channel, which was very much appreciated," said Stromquist. "His legacy is missed by the channel… in terms of profitability and growth those were the glory years at Intel."