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Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks: Partners Key To $1 Trillion Open Hybrid Cloud Market

Wade Tyler Millward

‘[Open hybrid cloud] is a huge area to execute to. Partners will have a massive influence on that. Because we’re just not going to be talking to every customer doing that. But all of them are going through that motion,’ new Red Hat CEO Matt Hicks tells CRN.

Partners will serve an essential role in bringing Red Hat tools to market as the IBM subsidiary works to broaden its reach in multi-cloud and edge environments, Matt Hicks, Red Hat’s recently promoted CEO, told CRN.

“Our partner community has always been a critical part of delivering to customers,” Hicks said. “We’re just seeing more and more momentum in our focus on open hybrid cloud growth. And whether that’s in the enterprise space of customers moving from on-prem to cloud and from one cloud to multi-cloud, or if it’s from the inclusion in edge where there’s more industry-specific focus—partners are a critical link, whether it’s the MSPs or they’re systems integrators … so I think that will only increase as we go forward.”

Hicks assumed the top job at Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat in July, succeeding Paul Cormier, who moved into the role of Red Hat chairman. Both men report to IBM Chairman and CEO Arvind Krishna.


How Does Red Hat Feel About Partners?

Cormier told CRN that Red Hat has been decreasing the number of customer accounts that get direct service from Red Hat and has hired more employees to work with the ecosystem.

Hicks—who has been at Red Hat for more than 16 years and before that at IBM for about four years—said he has worked with a variety of partner businesses over his career.

“I got a very hands-on, frontline experience, literally down to printing out registration numbers that we would ship for OEMs that would put them in boxes and send them to Asia,” Hicks said of his earlier Red Hat days. “So it was a great training to understand just the reach that they have.”

He sees partners as a key component in growing the number of Red Hat users and expanding use of Red Hat tools into more use cases, including edge computing.

“I think edge worldwide spend in 2025 will be a quarter of a trillion dollars,” he said. “The application growth in the next two years I think will be 800 percent. There are industries where partners will have that last-mile knowledge for us. And most of those partners probably need our platform and success to bring software innovation to the industry. So it is a phenomenal opportunity for us.”

Here’s what else Hicks had to say to CRN.

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at

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