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Kaseya-Datto Shocker: Rob Rae Has Left The Building

CJ Fairfield

Passionate MSP advocate and longtime Datto channel chief Rob Rae has left his position at Kaseya, sources tell CRN.

Rob Rae

Rob Rae, a passionate advocate for MSPs and the longtime face of the Datto channel, has left his position at Kaseya, sources told CRN.

Two sources, one current Kaseya employee and one person close to the company, told CRN that Rae has left. Rae’s LinkedIn page also indicates that his nine-year stint as senior vice president of business development at Datto, where he acted as the company’s channel chief, ended in October.

“He’s the second most recognizable name at Datto besides [founder and former CEO] Austin McChord,” said the Kaseya employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of repercussions. “I’m really surprised they couldn’t keep him.”

Miami-based Kaseya did not provide a comment to CRN as of press time. Rae did not respond to requests for comment.

Word of Rae’s departure caught some solution providers off guard, in part because of assurances offered by Kaseya CEO Fred Voccola that Rae would be staying.

“Rob Rae is going to continue as the senior vice president of business development for Datto. Rob Rae is sticking around,” Voccola said in an interview with CRN on June 23 when Kaseya’s acquisition of Datto closed. “Rob’s awesome. We love Rob. I tried to hire Rob for the last six years, so we got Rob finally. It took us buying Datto to get Rob Rae to be an employee.”

The $6.2 billion acquisition shook the Datto channel when it was announced in April and led some solution providers to fear that rival Kaseya would not uphold Datto’s strong, channel-focused culture.

Rae, however, lauded the acquisition and the positive impact he thought it would have on MSPs. “This is absolutely the best thing that could have happened to Datto, our employees and most importantly our MSP partners,” Rae said in a statement released after the deal closed on June 23. “Datto has always been committed to building great technology and creating a culture where its MSP customers always come first —and as part of Kaseya, we will be able to do this bigger, better and at lower cost to the MSP.”

Some MSPs expressed dismay at Rae’s departure.

“Everybody was scared to death about Kaseya acquiring Datto,” Dustin Bolander, founder of Clear Guidance Partners, an Austin, Texas-based MSP, told CRN. “[Kaseya] did do some good, like offering to reduce contracts, but the biggest thing they could’ve done was to keep Rob and keep that Datto culture.”

Phillip Walker, CEO of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based MSP and Kaseya partner Network Solutions Provider, called the departure “heartbreaking.”

“This is big. There’s an emotional response,” Walker said. “I thought he was going to stay.”

Walker said he had been looking forward to working closely with Rae as part of the Kaseya team. “This was supposed to be the time that we were finally able to build and do the things that we always talked about that we believed that the channel needed,” Walker said.

David Stinner, President & Founder of US itek, a Buffalo, N.Y.-based MSP that uses a number of Kaseya tools, said he expects Kaseya to continue to dominate the MSP platform market as a visionary leader even without Rae.

“Rob Rae is an amazing channel leader that was able to recruit hundreds and maybe even thousands of MSPs to come to Datto, but Kaseya will continue to dominate as long as they deliver on the vision of CEO Fred Voccola,” Stinner said. “[Kaseya is] the leader in the MSP tools market. MSPs love to complain, but nothing can match the collection of products that Kaseya has assembled to benefit MSPs.”

David Stinner with Rob Rae, both wearing the Datto Struggle T-shirts, as part of the Datto network hardware product release that Rae brought to market in 2017.
David Stinner with Rob Rae, both wearing the Datto Struggle T-shirts, as part of the Datto network hardware product release that Rae brought to market in 2017.

Henry Timm, CEO of Rolling Prairie, Ind.-based Phantom Technology Solutions, an MSP that works with Kaseya and Datto, said he’s interested to see where Rae ends up and who will fill his role at Kaseya.

“It’s been a high-stress thing for everyone at Datto and Kaseya this year, so I can understand it,” Timm said. “Although I’m not happy to see him leave there, I think it was somewhat inevitable.”

Walker expressed confidence that Rae will be an asset to his next employer, whatever company that might be.

“Whatever he decides to do, his track record shows that it’s going to be great,” Walker said.

Steven Burke contributed to this story

CJ Fairfield

CJ Fairfield is an associate editor at CRN covering solution providers, MSPs and distributors. Prior to joining CRN, she worked at daily newspapers, including The Press of Atlantic City in New Jersey and The Frederick News-Post in Maryland. She can be reached at cfairfield@thechannelcompany.com.

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