Denali CEO, Sales Chief Unexpectedly Step Aside

Denali Advanced Integration, a $1.5 billion IT solution provider, has lost its CEO and top sales executive only 11 months after bringing them on board.

Denali CEO Robert Vrij, a 19-year industry veteran and former Hewlett Packard Enterprise senior vice president, and Executive Vice President of Worldwide Sales Phil Castillo, both left the solution provider in August.

Taking over as CEO of Denali is Mohamad Daher, also known as Alex Daher, who with his brothers Majdi Daher and Mitch Daher founded the company.

Mohamad Daher also currently serves as Denali’s chairman. Majdi Daher, who was CEO before Vrij joined the company, remains on the company’s board of directors.

Neither Vrij nor Castillo responded to a CRN request for more information by press time.ADVERTISEMENT

Vrij, who was the first non-family CEO in Denali’s 30-year history. is one of several recent executive changes at Redmond, Wash.-based Denali, which is ranked No. 37 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500.

[Related: Denali CEO Majdi Daher: Family Business Looks Outside For Future Growth ] 

Castillo, another former HPE executive, joined Denali shortly after Vrij did, in August joined CommScope, a Hickory, N.C.-based fiber cabling and connectivity provider as its new vice president of sales for its North America enterprise business.

Denali Has No Plans To Look For New CEO

Jennifer Pointer, Denali’s executive vice president of global strategy, told CRN that the solution provider has no plans to look for another CEO for the foreseeable future.

Vrij and Castillo departed on friendly terms with Denali, Pointer said.

“Robert and Phil both independently and separately submitted their resignations,” she said. “They had different new opportunities. They parted as friends. It was very amicable. There were no issues. Nothing about our strategy changes. We have a strong leadership team.”

Major Executive Changes At Denali

In addition to Mohamad Daher taking over as CEO, Denali has recently made a number of major changes to its executive team as it expands on its digital services strategy, Pointer said.

Last week Denali hired Erez Yarkoni, a 16-year IT veteran, as its new executive vice president of global sales. Yarkoni was most recently executive vice president of Karat, a technical recruiting cloud platform provider. Before that, Yarkoni was vice president and head of cloud and telco worldwide for Check Point Software Technologies.

In addition, Denali earlier this year brought on Hari Haran as its executive vice president of digital services and head of the company’s international operations. Haran is building out the company’s digital services business with its core in India, she said.

Also new at Denali is Justin Long, vice president of automation, who is overseeing the company’s push to make automation a key part of its business going forward, Pointer said.

“We already have strategic agreements with partners including AWS, from whom we have integrated machine learning capabilities,” she said. “We also recently unveiled a partnership with Denmark-based Universal Robots, and also with scanner leader Zebra Technologies. So we have three major partners in our portfolio, and we are wrapping services around them to build automation solutions for customers.”

Denali, like many solution providers, grew up in the IT space but is now building operational technology capabilities, Pointer said.

“We’re going to bridge the gap between IT and OT,” she said. “To do so, you need networking and security so that the two can leverage each other. Our competitors play in digital transformation, but not on the OT side.”LEARN MORE: Professional Services  | Cybersecurity 

 Learn About Joseph F. Kovar


Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at [email protected].


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