Exclusive: Former AppSense SVP Ayres Named U.S. CEO For Thin-Client Superpower IGEL, Partners Call It A Channel Game-Changer

Former AppSense Senior Vice President Jed Ayres, a 20-year technology industry veteran with strong channel ties and Silicon Valley connections, has been named U.S. president and CEO of German thin-client powerhouse IGEL Technology's North American business.

IGEL, which is privately held, is the largest independent maker of thin-client hardware systems with a fast-growing product line that encompasses both Windows and Linux systems with an acclaimed universal management software suite.

"This is a dream come true," said Ayres, who has headed up the marketing effort for the past year at AppSense, which was acquired by endpoint security/management provider LANDESK in March. "This is an opportunity for me to bring all my years of software, sales, marketing and channel experience to bear with a company that is singularly focused on the thin-client market."

Ayres, who takes the top U.S. job effective June 1, said he is planning to double down on IGEL's "channel-first" partner-led strategy with new tools and resources for partners and additional market development funds. He also pledged to strengthen IGEL's alliances with key vendor and channel partners including VMware, Citrix Systems, Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Red Hat, Ingram Micro and Synnex.

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"We are going to double down on our best partners," said Ayres, who also spent time at solution providers MTM Technologies and GE Capital IT Solutions. "Our solution providers can look forward to an enhanced partner program with new margin incentives and additional market development funds. Priority No. 1 is getting the channel firing on all cylinders."

IGEL partners said they see the appointment as a watershed moment for the company to make deeper inroads into the channel and potentially grab market share from competitors.

"This is a game-changer not only for IGEL but for the thin-client industry," said Brian Cambier, practice lead for virtualization for MCPc, a leading thin-client provider in Cleveland, where Ayres once headed up the marketing effort. "IGEL has always had a great product line, but now with Jed's appointment it shows they are serious about building a compelling channel with strong marketing in the U.S. IGEL was a sleeping giant. With Jed taking over as CEO, I am hopeful the giant has awoken."

Cambier said the appointment could reshape the competitive landscape, given Ayres' channel and Silicon Valley connections.

"I think this could have a stratospheric impact on the thin-client market," he said. "I think you'll see Jed building more channel relationships and business development to power IGEL's greatest asset, which is its intuitive flexible management software."

MCPc's IGEL business could easily double with Ayres driving new channel and business development initiatives, said Cambier, who has known Ayres for the past 15 years.

Mike Strohl, CEO of Entisys360, a Concord, Calif., thin-client and virtualization powerhouse, said Ayres is in a position to make an "immediate" difference for IGEL's channel partners and customers.

"IGEL really needed to do something like this, putting someone in place that is known in the channel and by customers," said Strohl. "Jed understands what we do as channel partners, the opportunity and the changes that need to be made. If the global organization at IGEL listens to him, the company is going to be successful."

Strohl said he is looking forward to Ayres using his channel and vendor contacts to drive IGEL's U.S. sales and marketing offensive.

"Jed is well known," he said. "People will take his phone calls. He knows our business and when he says he is going to do something, he does it. I expect him to come to us with resources, tools and a market development campaign to accelerate the IGEL market opportunity."

Strohl compared Ayres’ appointment to RES Software's decision last year to hire former Citrix Senior Vice President Al Monserrat, immediately changing the channel sales dynamic for RES.

"This business is all about trust and relationships," he said. "I think with Jed at the helm we can grow our IGEL business from low six figures to a fairly substantial seven figures."

Ira Silverman, founder and CEO of Gotham Technology Group, an AppSense Platinum partner based in Montvale, N.J., also expects Ayres’ appointment to drive sales growth for IGEL.

"I think we can grow sales significantly with Jed as CEO," he said. "Jed understands the channel, marketing, the sales cycle and the market. Marketing is about listening to customers. I think he'll listen to the market and adapt the product and services. I am sure he is going to do great things from a sales, marketing and channel perspective."

Adam Bari, managing director at IPM, one of the top thin-client and virtualization partners in the country, said he expects Ayres’ appointment to lead to a channel renaissance for IGEL.

"Jed believes in a channel-first approach to the business," said Bari. "It's incredible to have IGEL appoint someone like Jed who gets the channel and knows how to put money in the pockets of partners. Jed knows how to build a channel program and how to enable partners to earn money by selling solutions. He'll put the marketing dollars and resources needed into the program."

Ayres has the character, integrity, creativity and trusted relationships to take IGEL to higher ground, he said.

"Jed is a marketing Jedi," said Bari. "He is a force to be reckoned with and is going to bring excitement to IGEL and the channel. He is a marketing genius and one of the most creative people I know in this business."

Ayres said he is looking forward to driving sales growth working hand in hand with channel partners and key vendors. "It feels like this job was tailor-made for me," he said. "I know the partners, alliance vendors and customers. This is a big opportunity for IGEL and its partners."