Behind the Scenes with Intel’s Tom Kilroy

An inside look at how the leader of Intel’s sales and marketing group spends his day.

As head of Intel’s sales and marketing, Tom Kilroy believes that “selling” is only a small portion of what his organization accomplishes every day.

While selling products is the end goal, a mind-boggling number of things must occur before a laptop designer decides to use Intel chips or a customer brings home his or her shiny new Ultrabook. As one of the top executives, Kilroy is deeply engaged in the business of Intel, from smartphones to servers. He and his team either own or engage in everything from market forecasting and customer relationships to brainstorming the next ad campaign and chasing design wins with an increasingly diverse set of products.

Kilroy began his career at Intel as a regional sales manager and rose through the ranks to run the Reseller Channel Organization and the Americas Sales and Marketing Organization. He also was co-manager of Intel’s largest business, the former Digital Enterprise Group, at a time when Intel was facing stiff competition in servers from AMD several years ago. From there Kilroy took over the reins of sales and marketing in 2009 from Executive Vice President Sean Maloney.

For a glimpse at an average day, follow Kilroy through his day at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara.

10:12 a.m. – Kilroy and his technical assistant (TA), Brent Young, quickly walk through a presentation for Intel’s board of directors the next day. The two men make rapid-fire tweaks and decisions. Young, who was an open source software strategist for 4 years before becoming his TA, characterizes Kilroy as a “non-power-oriented dude,” a leader who is strong but even-keeled.

10:38 a.m. – In front of an audience of employees in Santa Clara, with hundreds more attending via webcast, Kilroy presents a quarterly business update.

11:46 a.m. – Most of the questions in the business update are about Intel’s Ultrabook efforts. “This happens once in a decade,” he says. “We had the opportunity with Centrino to change the game — we need to do that again.” He says that unlike Centrino, which took a while to get partners on board, Intel’s Ultrabook customers are excited about refreshing the PC. We’ve been able to turn the idea of an Ultrabook — which was first publicly mentioned at Computex in May — into reality in less than 6 months.

12:02 p.m. – Young and Kilroy discuss their trip to Mexico City as they walk back to the Robert Noyce Building on Intel’s Santa Clara campus. World travel is a huge part of his job — Kilroy usually heads out on an international trip two to three times a quarter to meet with customers, employees, partners and press. This road warrior’s secret? “Staying in reasonable shape,” he says. “I have always been an early riser and when I can, I try to get a run in before heading to work.” He ran four miles this morning — and was extra-energized from watching his favorite football team, the Chicago Bears, win last night.

12:05 p.m. – On the way to lunch, Kilroy pauses to shake hands and chat with Intel China Chairman Sean Maloney, who himself ran the Sales and Marketing organization and now heads up Intel’s efforts in China. They have a long relationship, dating back to the early 1990s when Kilroy was Intel’s regional sales manager in Chicago. Since then, their roles have crisscrossed many times. “Sean is the ultimate role model when it comes to creating a sense of urgency to drive results,” says Kilroy. “Over the years I’ve learned so much from him as a boss, a business partner and a friend.”

12:10 p.m. – In the Intel cafeteria, Kilroy makes his usual lunch — a simple turkey flatbread sandwich with light mayo, a bag of chips and a Granny Smith apple. He takes his lunch back up to his conference room in the Robert Noyce Building to eat during a meeting with one of his top sales managers.

1:32 p.m. – Kilroy joins another packed  conference room with other top executives for a briefing on market supply and demand.

2:16 p.m. – Kilroy considers fun and offbeat ideas for his keynote address at Intel’s upcoming sales and marketing conference.

3:05 p.m. – Kilroy sits down with Phillip Davis from employee communications to talk about the development of the Ultrabook for a story in an internal employee publication. Kilroy meets regularly with members of the external press and often conducts sit-down interviews on each of his international trips to talk about what he’s up to and what the business trends are.

3:41 p.m. – Across a long conference room table, Kilroy and Young lay out printed PowerPoint slides for an upcoming presentation. Starting from the beginning, Kilroy makes adjustments and shuffles slides around. “It’s important to always tell a story when you are presenting,” he says. “I like being able to lay out the slides, step back and see how the story flows and comes together.”

4:31 p.m. – Kilroy peeks out of the conference room where he takes many of his regular meetings after talking to one of several employees whom he informally mentors. “He likes to grow talent,” says Young, who also calls Kilroy his mentor. “He has a real eye for people who can excel and thinks it’s important to invest time coaching Intel’s future leaders.”

5:02 p.m. – Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president, Mooly Eden, vice president, and others attend a quarterly meeting with Kilroy designed to review expected demand and revenue in the coming quarters.

7:15 p.m. – Kilroy meets a customer for dinner at a steakhouse in Palo Alto. He has a regular beat of customer meetings each week and thinks discussions over drinks and a meal are the most valuable. “They tend to be more open and allow for relationship building.”

6:30 a.m. – Barely 8 hours after his customer meeting wrapped up the previous night, Kilroy walks back into the Robert Noyce Building, looking forward to getting some work done before the drumbeat of meetings begins.

7:15 a.m. – Sitting at his desk on the 5th floor of the Robert Noyce Building, just a few cubes away from President and CEO Paul Otellini, Kilroy goes over his calendar for the day and wades through overnight email.

10:15 a.m. – Kilroy walks into the Intel board of directors meeting. In these bi-monthly meetings he frequently presents the state of the business.

Kilroy finishes off yet another busy day with a series of meetings: a brainstorm session, a management review committee and a few more coaching one-on-ones. That evening, he heads home to kick back and relax. “This snapshot of time with me captured a diversity of work,” he says, “that hopefully conveys why I’m so energized and inspired and really love my job.”

Behind the Scenes with Intel’s Tom Kilroy

An inside look at how the leader of Intel’s sales and marketing group spends his day.

As head of Intel’s sales and marketing, Tom Kilroy believes that “selling” is only a small portion of what his organization accomplishes every day.

While selling products is the end goal, a mind-boggling number of things must occur before a laptop designer decides to use Intel chips or a customer brings home his or her shiny new Ultrabook. As one of the top executives, Kilroy is deeply engaged in the business of Intel, from smartphones to servers. He and his team either own or engage in everything from market forecasting and customer relationships to brainstorming the next ad campaign and chasing design wins with an increasingly diverse set of products.

Kilroy began his career at Intel as a regional sales manager and rose through the ranks to run the Reseller Channel Organization and the Americas Sales and Marketing Organization. He also was co-manager of Intel’s largest business, the former Digital Enterprise Group, at a time when Intel was facing stiff competition in servers from AMD several years ago. From there Kilroy took over the reins of sales and marketing in 2009 from Executive Vice President Sean Maloney.

For a glimpse at an average day, follow Kilroy through his day at Intel headquarters in Santa Clara.

10:12 a.m. – Kilroy and his technical assistant (TA), Brent Young, quickly walk through a presentation for Intel’s board of directors the next day. The two men make rapid-fire tweaks and decisions. Young, who was an open source software strategist for 4 years before becoming his TA, characterizes Kilroy as a “non-power-oriented dude,” a leader who is strong but even-keeled.

10:38 a.m. – In front of an audience of employees in Santa Clara, with hundreds more attending via webcast, Kilroy presents a quarterly business update.

11:46 a.m. – Most of the questions in the business update are about Intel’s Ultrabook efforts. “This happens once in a decade,” he says. “We had the opportunity with Centrino to change the game — we need to do that again.” He says that unlike Centrino, which took a while to get partners on board, Intel’s Ultrabook customers are excited about refreshing the PC. We’ve been able to turn the idea of an Ultrabook — which was first publicly mentioned at Computex in May — into reality in less than 6 months.

12:02 p.m. – Young and Kilroy discuss their trip to Mexico City as they walk back to the Robert Noyce Building on Intel’s Santa Clara campus. World travel is a huge part of his job — Kilroy usually heads out on an international trip two to three times a quarter to meet with customers, employees, partners and press. This road warrior’s secret? “Staying in reasonable shape,” he says. “I have always been an early riser and when I can, I try to get a run in before heading to work.” He ran four miles this morning — and was extra-energized from watching his favorite football team, the Chicago Bears, win last night.

12:05 p.m. – On the way to lunch, Kilroy pauses to shake hands and chat with Intel China Chairman Sean Maloney, who himself ran the Sales and Marketing organization and now heads up Intel’s efforts in China. They have a long relationship, dating back to the early 1990s when Kilroy was Intel’s regional sales manager in Chicago. Since then, their roles have crisscrossed many times. “Sean is the ultimate role model when it comes to creating a sense of urgency to drive results,” says Kilroy. “Over the years I’ve learned so much from him as a boss, a business partner and a friend.”

12:10 p.m. – In the Intel cafeteria, Kilroy makes his usual lunch — a simple turkey flatbread sandwich with light mayo, a bag of chips and a Granny Smith apple. He takes his lunch back up to his conference room in the Robert Noyce Building to eat during a meeting with one of his top sales managers.

1:32 p.m. – Kilroy joins another packed  conference room with other top executives for a briefing on market supply and demand.

2:16 p.m. – Kilroy considers fun and offbeat ideas for his keynote address at Intel’s upcoming sales and marketing conference.

3:05 p.m. – Kilroy sits down with Phillip Davis from employee communications to talk about the development of the Ultrabook for a story in an internal employee publication. Kilroy meets regularly with members of the external press and often conducts sit-down interviews on each of his international trips to talk about what he’s up to and what the business trends are.

3:41 p.m. – Across a long conference room table, Kilroy and Young lay out printed PowerPoint slides for an upcoming presentation. Starting from the beginning, Kilroy makes adjustments and shuffles slides around. “It’s important to always tell a story when you are presenting,” he says. “I like being able to lay out the slides, step back and see how the story flows and comes together.”

4:31 p.m. – Kilroy peeks out of the conference room where he takes many of his regular meetings after talking to one of several employees whom he informally mentors. “He likes to grow talent,” says Young, who also calls Kilroy his mentor. “He has a real eye for people who can excel and thinks it’s important to invest time coaching Intel’s future leaders.”

5:02 p.m. – Dadi Perlmutter, executive vice president, Mooly Eden, vice president, and others attend a quarterly meeting with Kilroy designed to review expected demand and revenue in the coming quarters.

7:15 p.m. – Kilroy meets a customer for dinner at a steakhouse in Palo Alto. He has a regular beat of customer meetings each week and thinks discussions over drinks and a meal are the most valuable. “They tend to be more open and allow for relationship building.”

6:30 a.m. – Barely 8 hours after his customer meeting wrapped up the previous night, Kilroy walks back into the Robert Noyce Building, looking forward to getting some work done before the drumbeat of meetings begins.

7:15 a.m. – Sitting at his desk on the 5th floor of the Robert Noyce Building, just a few cubes away from President and CEO Paul Otellini, Kilroy goes over his calendar for the day and wades through overnight email.

10:15 a.m. – Kilroy walks into the Intel board of directors meeting. In these bi-monthly meetings he frequently presents the state of the business.

Kilroy finishes off yet another busy day with a series of meetings: a brainstorm session, a management review committee and a few more coaching one-on-ones. That evening, he heads home to kick back and relax. “This snapshot of time with me captured a diversity of work,” he says, “that hopefully conveys why I’m so energized and inspired and really love my job.”