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ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee: ‘Those Rumors, Not True’

‘They’ve become prominent enough where it’s better to address it and say, ‘These rumors aren’t true,’ and just put it to bed,’ says Evan Leonard, CEO of CHIPS Technology Group. ‘If they can maintain a leadership group, then that will help the company continually move forward in the industry.’

ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee attempted to dispel “rumors” at the top of his Wednesday keynote at the company’s IT Nation event in Orlando, Fla., without actually specifying what scuttlebutt he was addressing.

The awkward moment came at the start of the conference when Craig Fulton, chief customer officer of ConnectWise, sat down with Magee and started with a simple question: “What’s up? What’s new?”

“In typical ConnectWise fashion, there’s news and updates for sure,” Magee said. “Those rumors, not true.”

Magee didn’t elaborate on what rumors he was talking about, but the cagey statement led some attendees to surmise that Magee was referencing speculation that he would be stepping down from his post.

A number of top executives with close ties to ConnectWise said there have been rumors swirling of leadership changes within the Tampa, Fla.-based company including that Magee may be leaving.

“The things I keep hearing are maybe Jason Magee might not be here anymore,” Kyle Hanslovan, co-founder and CEO of threat hunting firm Huntress, told CRN. “And we’re hearing some of the leadership underneath Jason Magee is also rotating out as they’re kind of preparing for a go-public plan. Those are the ones I’ve heard all over the last 30 days. I think some of them have some substance to them and I think some are absolute BS.”

While he was happy to hear Magee say that ostensibly the rumors aren’t true, he still believes there are changes afoot at the company.

“Continuity is good,” he said. “They need continuity, they need to continue both between focusing on partners and focusing on internal culture. I will hold my breath and say I still think change is to come but I’m glad to hear that at least some of the right people in ConnectWise are here to stay.”

Evan Leonard, CEO of Syosset, New York-based CHIPS Technology Group, a ConnectWise partner, also heard a rumor that Magee would be stepping down.

“They’ve become prominent enough where it’s better to address it and say, ’These rumors aren’t true,’ and just put it to bed,” he told CRN. “If they can maintain a leadership group then that will help the company continually move forward in the industry.”

Since the last IT Nation in 2019, Magee said a lot has happened. In October 2020 ConnectWise launched IT Nation Secure as well as ConnectWise Cyber Research Unit.

“Those things together are all about all things cybersecurity and helping protect our partners and our customers,” Magee said.

The global vendor also launched its evangelist team and made a few acquisitions, like acquiring managed threat detection security provider Perch Security in 2020.

“If I take all that and sum it up, it’s all about operational maturity and transformation,” Magee said. “That’s what we’ve been up to.”

He also said that ConnectWise has been “listening and learning for the last few years” as the vendor has been engaging with its partners through monthly calls and conducting thousands of surveys to get feedback

“We’ve been talking about the opportunities in front of us,” Magee said. “Cybersecurity [is a] huge opportunity. It’s a risk, it’s a threat. It’s growing, but [it’s] a huge opportunity for all of us.”

And it’s all about maturity, he said.

“Those that look to mature their business and transform their business, they’re going to be better positioned to capitalize on the opportunity,” he said.

There’s also a big opportunity with mergers and acquisitions in the MSP community, he said, adding that there’s a lot of money coming into the market through M&As.

“It starts with ConnectWise,” Magee said. “We need to mature as well. We need to be doing things [where] we’re focusing on our partners [and have] our partners’ needs in mind. We’re doing things to bring new options for growth. The ConnectWise partner program that we launched earlier this year that focuses on cybersecurity, that’s the start. That’s just scratching the surface.”

Sometimes a spark is needed, he said, to find new ways to move towars that vision of success.

“ConnectWise was no different … operational maturity, transformation,” he said. “After what we’ve all gone through with the pandemic and reinventing ourselves and trying to capitalize on the opportunity, you just need that spark.

“Sometimes you need that rallying cry around bringing things together and getting everyone aligned and motivated to go execute and do what’s needed,” Magee added. “It really comes down to what are we doing.”

ConnectWise will deliver more innovation and do it faster, Magee said during his keynote. He said the company is going to invest more in partner and customer growth and make it easier to do business with the company.

“We’re reimagining what is possible,” he said. “And we’re ready to help the IT nation do the same.”



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