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3 Things Partners Want From Intel's Next CEO

Partners tell CRN what they would like to see from Intel's next CEO following the resignation of former leader Brian Krzanich in late June.

Intel is now a few weeks into its search for the semiconductor giant's next CEO, but partners have already created a laundry list of things they would like to see from the company's next top executive.

Robert Swan, Intel's interim CEO, took over following the resignation of former leader Brian Krzanich, but Swan has reportedly told employees he's not interested in taking a permanent position as chief executive. That has left the job open to several potential frontrunners, including Diane Bryant, who was previously in charge of Intel's Data Center Group and recently left Google Cloud.

Whoever ends up taking over, Intel's new chief executive will have to decide the top priorities for the company's channel strategy. CRN recently spoke to some Intel partners on what they would like to see from Intel's next CEO. What follows are the three biggest requests they made. Intel declined to comment.

1. Greater Emphasis On Enthusiast PC Market

Intel has been morphing from a business focused on PCs to one that has a data-centric strategy. But the PC market -- especially the enthusiast PC segment -- should remain a priority, said Wallace Santos, CEO of Maingear, a Kenilworth, N.J.-based system builder. The CEO, whose company sells gaming PCs, said Intel's next leader should follow AMD's example and create a brand that speaks more directly to gamers, like AMD's Ryzen processors. Intel could also learn some things from Nvidia, which has created an entire ecosystem of software around its graphics cards that improves the overall computer experience, Santos added. "Enthusiast and gaming is working really well," he said. "Let's double down on that."

2. Stronger Personal Relationships With The Channel

Several partners said they would like a stronger personal connection with the company's next CEO than they had with Krzanich. Kent Tibbils, vice president of marketing of Fremont, Calif.-based ASI Corp., said he doesn't recall ever seeing Krzanich at Intel's annual partner events, which was a change from his predecessor, Paul Otellini, who made appearances at most of them. "I think it's nice for the customers to see the CEO. I think it sends a good message to everybody who's there. It's also nice to hear [the CEO's] insights when they're delivering the keynote," Tibbils said. Andrew Kretzer, director of sales and marketing at Bold Data Technology, also based in Fremont, Calif., said the company's next CEO would do well by reaching out to smaller partners. "It would be a breath of fresh air for the new CEO to reestablish relationships with companies whose CEOs' names are not [Dell Technologies CEO Michael] Dell or [Amazon CEO Jeff] Bezos," he said in an email to CRN.

3. Rely On Partners To Boost Emerging Technologies

As Intel's drone and autonomous vehicle software businesses raise the company's profile in Silicon Valley, some partners say they could help Intel by playing a bigger role and would like to see the company's next CEO make stronger overtures to bring solution providers into Intel's emerging technologies go-to-market efforts. "That would be a huge benefit," Tibbils said, adding that Intel could use a similar approach to how it has promoted Internet of Things offerings with partners through the company's Market Ready Solutions program. Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based Future Tech, No. 115 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500, said he would like Intel's next CEO to bring in a subset of leading partners to the table so that they can give guidance and direction for emerging technologies. "Sometimes when you do things in a vacuum at the leadership level, the results don’t necessarily make it to the mainstream where the product doesn’t do what it was supposed to do in the amount it should have done," he said.

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