Ruckus' New Channel Leader: 'We're Going To Come Out Of This Stronger Than Ever Before'

Ruckus has a new channel leader who is fired up to lead partners through the transition of becoming part of Arris International later this year.

Raelyn Kritzer, a longtime Brocade Communications partner champion, will take the channel chief position left open when Sandra Glaser Cheek left last month. Kritzer currently is senior director of worldwide partner programs and enablement for Brocade and has been with the company for 16 years.

"We've got a pulse on what partners are going through right now and we're just trying to minimize the disruption with their business," said Kritzer in an interview with CRN. "So my hope and my goal is that we're going to continue to do that. We're moving through this. We're going to come out of this stronger than ever before."

[Related: Hundreds Of Brocade Employees Leaving As Broadcom Acquisition Approaches]

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Kritzer said her priority is to recognize and reward loyal partners.

"We want to make sure that those partners who have stayed loyal to us over the years are still with us, and maybe even attract a few more – maybe at the expense of our competition," said Kritzer.

Brocade acquired Ruckus last year for $1.2 billion. Brocade-Ruckus is set to be acquired by Broadcom by the end of October for $5.9 billion; Broadcom plans to then sell Ruckus and its IP networking business to Arris International immediately.

Al Brown, CEO of SmartWave Technologies, an Alpharetta, Ga.-based solution provider and Brocade-Ruckus partner, was excited to hear about Kritzer's channel leadership position and the moves the company was making ahead of its acquisition by Arris.

"We're excited just about the dust getting settled," said Brown. "When you work with a company for seven years and build relationships at all levels at Ruckus, then you have a lot of change [and] the natural reaction would be [to be] concerned about it. We've been optimistic about some of the changes going on and the commitment to the reseller channel. And if Arris can infuse cash [into Ruckus] – that's fantastic."

Kritzer has led Brocade's partner marketing efforts for over a decade, holding positions such as director of worldwide partner marketing from 2008 to 2016, as well as senior manager of worldwide partner marketing.

"Ruckus is just such an exciting company. There's lots of great energy here," said Kritzer, adding that Ruckus will act as an independent business unit inside Arris.

Broadcom's $5.9 billion blockbuster acquisition of Brocade hit a major hurdle in July that has delayed the purchase for months. The acquisition, which was first unveiled in November, was set to be completed by Aug. 1. However, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) halted the process to review the deal further, raising the remote possibility that CFIUS could dissolve the deal altogether.

Michael Knight, CTO of Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group, a Brocade-Ruckus partner, said Encore is hopeful in Kritzer's abilities to drive Ruckus partner sales and programs following the Arris acquisition.

"We expect continued success for her as she had with Brocade, where she drove great programs and content for partners worldwide," said Knight.

Kritzer hopes the merger to be completed by the end of the year and is ready to hit the ground running on day one. "My strategy is to have a strong year and keep my partners engaged," she said.

Ruckus' current COO, Dan Rabinovits, is set to helm the Ruckus unit inside Arris.

The vendor's annual Big Dogs Partner Conference is taking place this week in Miami.