VMware VP Frank Rauch Takes Top Channel Job At Check Point


Frank Rauch, who has headed up the Americas channel for VMware for the last six years, is taking a new position as the worldwide head of channel sales for Check Point Software Technologies, effective Jan. 11, sources said.

Rauch, a perennial honoree on CRN's annual Most Influential Channel Chiefs list, is expected to drive significant new channel investments at the cybersecurity powerhouse.

Solution providers, for their part, said Rauch will likely bring the same formula that served him well at VMware, namely combining new channel programs and tools with strategic teaming agreements, to Check Point.

[Related: Pat Gelsinger On AWS Outposts And Expanding VMware's Amazon Partnership]

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Rauch, who could not be reached for comment, will report to Chief Customer Officer Dan Yerushalmi, who joined Check Point five months ago, sources said.

CRN reached out to VMware and Checkpoint but had not heard back at press time.

Mike Thompson, CEO of Groupware Technology, No. 92 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said Rauch's hiring by Check Point is a channel game changer.

"This is a great pick up for Check Point," said Thompson. "I'm willing to bet that Frank will put a compelling story together for partners to take a deeper look at the Check Point's portfolio and solution offerings. Security is top of mind for every C-level executive within our installed base. There is plenty of opportunity for Frank to revise Check Point's go-to-market strategy via the channel and create opportunities for partners."

Thompson said Rauch has been instrumental over the last six years in helping his company become a bigger player in the software defined digital transformation market.

"Frank's leadership and guidance has really helped us make decisions to move our business in the right direction," said Thompson. "That guidance has been a huge benefit for us and our success over the years. He helped us build a much more strategic partnership with VMware. That changed our conversation with the customers and made us more relevant to our customers."

Thompson said Rauch has always been a "great advocate of the channel" and has helped his company out of "many jams" that have arisen in closing deals. "Anytime there have been challenges, Frank is always there to take the call, responding to texts at any hour," he said. "What differentiates Frank is he understands our business."

Bob Cagnazzi, CEO of Presidio, No. 20 on the CRN SP500, said Rauch is in the "top echelon" of channel chiefs and is sure to make a big difference in Check Point's strategic alignment with the channel.

"Frank is flat out one of the best channel executives I have ever worked with," said Cagnazzi. "He has great credibility in the marketplace and among partners. He really understands what partners like us are looking for, what we want out of an OEM partner. He understands that engagement with the field sales team is critically important. Internally that OEM has got to enable that engagement and put in the processes and programs so that the partners can engage seamlessly with the direct sales teams and create world-class solutions for their clients. Franks gets all of that. That is a tremendous benefit for whatever company he has been with and where ever he goes."

Rauch's move from an Americas role at VMware to a global role at Check Point opens the door for the channel sales veteran to make significant changes more quickly, said Cagnazzi.

With Rauch moving to Check Point, Cagnazzi said Presidio would consider looking at the company as a potential strategic partner. "With Frank there, we will listen whereas we wouldn't have listened in the past," he said.

When Rauch took the Americas channel chief job at VMware in 2012, the company was still largely known as a data center virtualization software provider with vSphere. Today, VMware is a hyper-converged, end-user compute and cloud management orchestration powerhouse with a product line that runs from the desktop with Workspace One to the cloud with VMware Cloud on AWS.

Cagnazzi praised Rauch for driving strong Americas sales alignment with the VMware channel. "I think Frank has been a great partner for (VMware CEO) Pat (Gelsinger) and his team," he said. "With Pat broadening the portfolio and increasing the relevance outside of server and compute, Frank has been there all along, making sure partners were enabled and engaged properly with the right tools, processes and programs. He made sure partners were aligned and ready to deliver against that strategy."

Ken Lamneck, CEO of Insight, No. 12 on the CRN SP500, said Check Point is fortunate to get a top channel executive with Rauch's broad and deep channel expertise.

"We'll miss him at VMware," said Lamneck. "He was a key player for us who was always very accessible, very hands on. He understood exactly how the channel works right down to the nuances of how to get rid of the road blocks. Frank is a very hands-on, roll-up-your-sleeves channel executive. We dealt with him for years at VMware and HP. He has a great software and hardware background in the channel. He has dealt with every major player in the channel. He understands what makes a channel player viable from a programmatic point of view."

Lamneck said he sees Rauch taking Check Point's channel offensive to another level. "We're excited that he's going to Check Point," he said. "Check Point has done a nice job overall, but getting someone of Frank's calibre to run their channel business is going to take it to another level. He is going to bring a lot of great access to the channel for Check Point. I am sure he is going to improve Check Point's channel. He knows where they are at and what they need to do to get to the next level."

The channel expertise that Rauch brought to VMware helped propel robust VMware sales growth for Insight, said Lamneck.

"We have seen tremendous growth for VMware as part of our software portfolio," he said. "We have been really pleased with the VMware channel. We are going to miss Frank but I think we will still keep that momentum going. Frank was a big contributor to get us to the point we are. Frank is in the top tier of channel chiefs that we have dealt with over the last 25 years. He has longevity, knows all the channel players and understands the channel programs from so many different angles and what it takes to drive key partners. Check Point is lucky to get him. We are happy for Frank and happy that we'll still be able to work with him."

Additional reporting by Mark Haranas and Michael Novinson