Top Gun 51 Profile: Frank Rauch, Check Point Channel Chief

The Top Gun 51 Lifetime Achievement award winner says to practice humility with empathy.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 27, 2020

6 Min Read
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Longtime channel leader Frank Rauch, of Check Point Software Technologies, had big plans for its partner program when he joined the company early last year.


Check Point’s Frank Rauch

Since then, he has realigned it to focus on partner profitability through enhanced incentives for deal registration.

In addition, the channel leader has made Check Point more predictable for partners. He has done this by aligning the field compensation plans and training on rules of engagement.

Rauch is part of our Top Gun 51 for 2020 — and we are awarding him for lifetime achievement, a special honor among the group. Introduced last year, the Top Gun 51 recognizes premier leaders in the indirect IT and telecom channel. We got input from those who know channel executives best — distributors, master agents and industry analysts. There were three criteria considered in selecting this year’s group: advocacy for the channel; commitment to partners’ business success; and dedication to earning the channel’s trust.

High Praise

Rauch’s colleagues have high praise for his performance in the channel at Check Point and before.

“Frank’s career has spanned multiple decades [and] he has had a meaningful, positive impact on partners and clients,” said Bob Kane, Insight‘s senior vice president and general manager of U.S. enterprise sales and product marketing. “His ability to listen, offer solutions and help solve problems quickly is one of the things that has set him apart as a leader in the channel.”

Check Point’s Frank Rauch is part of Channel Partners/Channel Futures’ 2020 Top Gun 51. The Top Gun 51 recognizes today’s channel executives who build and execute channel programs in a way that drives partner, customer and supplier success. See the full list.

Tom Cahill is CDW‘s vice president of product and partner management. He says Rauch has been a “fantastic business partner, a boss, a mentor and most importantly a friend to me for many years.”

“As a leader in the channel, he has always strived to do the right thing for his channel partners, even when it was not the most popular thing within the OEM,” he said. “The relationship between the manufacturer and the channel partner has evolved greatly over the years and Frank has been a driver of that. I am very happy to see Frank getting this award. It is well deserved and I look forward to working with Frank for many more years.”

And Joseph Koenig, World Wide Technology‘s president, said “we’ve known Frank for over a decade and we have always appreciated his passion, work ethic and integrity.”

“In addition to being an outstanding channel chief, Frank has a passion for giving back to the community,” he said. “He’s just a great guy and a pleasure to work with.”

Winning Strategies

In a Q&A with Channel Futures, Rauch highlights his career, including global partner program leadership, and gives advice to future channel leaders.

Channel Futures: What are your thoughts on the Lifetime Achievement honor?

Frank Rauch: I am humbled and grateful for this award, which represents a body of work versus a quarter, year or even tenure at one company. I am thankful for the support I received from family, all the people who had confidence in me and took a chance on me, my mentors, my rock star teams, and of course, every partner I met on the journey. I am also confident that the future of the channel is in amazing hands.

CF: How did you first become involved in the channel? Was it part of your overall career plan?

FR: The first half of my career was direct sales with IBM, Compaq and HP, but of course working closely with partners. I was then asked to move into a senior strategy role where I learned even more about the importance and power of the channel. My boss at that time basically told me he would give me any job I wanted, and I opted to lead the enterprise channel for HP. So not by design, but more of a career evolution.

CF: Have you been responsible for building channel programs from the ground up? If so, how did your experience come into play in these processes?

FR: I have had the opportunity to build and rebuild channel programs at large companies like …

… HP, VMware and Check Point. I have also had some unique experiences helping earlier stage companies like Skycure, Cloudgenera, Veeam, Cohesity and others create channels. My career experiences came into play by creating differentiated programs, which satisfied corporate goals, field/channel alignment objectives and the needs of the channel.

CF: What have you learned most from your experience with the channel and partners?

FR: Trust, credibility and creating win-win scenarios have allowed me to create 15-plus year relationships and friendships with many top executives, which have transcended from company to company. Your actions and execution will create your brand. Take an external perspective to validate and revalidate. Relationships matter, but so do data and flawless execution.

CF: What do you consider your biggest accomplishments in working with the channel?

FR: Very simply, helping partners and people reach their potential. There’s no greater accomplishment than seeing a partner grow from nearly nothing to thousands of people and billions in revenue. I have also had a long list of people from my teams who now play a major role. [Some] lead their own channels.

CF: What are your career goals going forward?

FR: “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” — Mark Twain. While I would not go quite that far, I am really enjoying Check Point and the work I am doing. I am also involved as an advisory board member with Drexel University’s Close School of Entrepreneurship. And I love helping people and companies. I would like to finish my work and mission at Check Point and continue to do some philanthropy, teaching and board work.

CF: What sort of advice would you give someone who is just starting out in channel leadership?

FR: “The Man in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow has always been a guiding principle to me. Serve your teams, company and partners well. Listen more than talk, and practice humility with empathy. Have the courage to leave your ego at the door while focusing on what is right versus who is right. Have a results-first mentality. If you can’t measure it or predict a positive outcome, don’t do it. Finally, strategy is truly the art of deselection. Have fun along the journey and don’t take yourself too seriously.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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