EMC vet Kevin Connolly to replace Kevin Peesker as Dell EMC Canada Commercial head

Connolly acknowledges he will need to work hard to assure Dell EMC Canada customers, partners and staff that a guy coming from the EMC side of the house gets the commercial business, which is mainly legacy Dell.

Kevin Connolly, new Dell EMC Canada Commercial head.

Dell EMC made a significant pair of announcements on Tuesday. First, they announced that Kevin Peesker, who has been with Dell since 2003, and then became head of Dell Canada in 2013 and Dell EMC Canada Commercial head last year, is stepping down at the end of July. In his stead comes Kevin Connolly, a career EMC employee who has been in both enterprise and midmarket roles at EMC, and since the merger has most recently been Senior Vice President, North America Acquisition Sales.

“I joined EMC after graduating from Boston College in 1993,” Connolly told ChannelBuzz. “I was District Manager of EMC’s Enterprise Division in Chicago for seven to eight years, before moving on to Area Manager Mid-Market and Vice President Mid-Market, where I ran seventeen states.”

Connolly noted that in the old EMC lexicon, ‘mid-market’ meant basically everything under the top 500 or so companies.

“I was in the mid-market at EMC when we greatly expanded the downmarket process,” he said. “I got a great feel for the power of the mid-market and commercial space. We came out with smaller form factors, lower prices, Clarions, VNXs. My most material career ride was this, through 2016, when we were bought by Dell.”

This February he moved to the Acquisition Sales role, which is all about acquiring new business, not companies.

“It’s a bright light within the Dell portfolio,” he said. “It has 250 sellers actively selling every day. I learned a lot about servers there, something that we didn’t do with EMC. It made me much more comfortable with the portfolio.”

Connolly said that he thinks his buy-in to Michael Dell’s vision around the ability to sell the whole stack prepares him to own the whole stack in the Commercial business in Canada.

“I have a true passion for the Dell story, and Michael’s vision,” he said. “At Acquisitions, it was all about taking that message of the complete stack, understanding the whole portfolio and solving customer problems with really, really good technology.”

Connolly expects to encounter some skepticism from customers and partners that as an old EMC guy, he grasps the Dell value proposition.

“I do worry about that for sure, to be candid,” he said. “I was concerned about it here, when I walked in to a Commercial operation in Canada filled with folks who are all legacy Dell. But I listen a lot more than I talk. I put people first, and believe in treating them well and listening to them. I’m bullish people will understand that I have a sincere interest in their future.”

At the same time, a relative outsider can bring the advantage of a fresh perspective, and Connolly said that he thinks some things could be done to improve the execution of the Commercial business.

“I think that coming from the EMC side, and knowing those solutions as well as I do, if we leverage that properly we could send the business into hyperdrive,” he stated. “That requires that we get more comfortable with things like hyper-converged, especially VXRail. I think that’s our opportunity in commercial. It requires continuing the training and developing folks in Canada to have the ability to tell that full story, so we can grow at a rate I dream about.”

Connolly emphasized that the channel will play a key role in all this.

“We ran 99 per cent of EMC’s midmarket business through the channel,” he said. “It’s entirely in my DNA. I’m a huge proponent of the channel, and I intend to spend as much time on it as I did in the U.S.”

Finally, Connolly noted that, at least for now, the organization of Dell EMC in Canada, will remain the same as it did when Peesker was in the role, with his position being co-equal with that of fellow EMC alumni Michael Sharun on the Enterprise side.

“As of right now, it’s the same,” he said. “As far as the future organization, that’s to be determined.”