Top 25 Most Innovative Executives of 2007


This year's Top 25 list recognizes those executives who have forever changed the way we do business today and in the future.


This year's list of CRN's Top 25 executives takes a step in a new and bold direction focusing on innovation. Not technical innovation alone, of which volumes are written each year, but true business innovation. Since its inception, CRN's list of the Top 25 executives assessed those in power, executives with influence who worked out front or behind the scenes to shape their company's future or exerted broad impact on the industry. While that remains true, the most influential executives today are those who innovate and whose business innovation affects the lives of today's solution providers. For instance, an executive can spearhead the development of a new product but its potential will never be reached unless he can find an innovative way of bringing that product to market and, in doing so, have legions of solution providers line up waiting to sell it. So, this year's list, and future ones, will focus on executives who are true innovators, those with mastery over the technology as well as business. On the following pages you will find such individuals from the ranks of solution providers, distributors, vendors and other organizations.

Mark Hurd
CHAIRMAN, PRESIDENT & CEO, HEWLETT-PACKARD
Mark Hurd gets the channel. He seeks input from solution providers and works with them to grow their businesses together. And his efforts are paying off.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Benjamin Chereskin
MANAGING DIRECTOR, MADISON DEARBORN PARTNERS
As the mastermind behind Madison Dearborn Partners' $7.3 billion purchase of CDW, Chereskin sparked a resurgence of private equity involvement in the channel.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Carl Eschenbach
EXECUTIVE VP WORLDWIDE FIELD OPERATIONS, VMWARE
VMware is currently at the top of the virtualization game, but with Microsoft and Citrix entering the fray, who knows how long that will last? To keep VMware growing, Eschenbach is taking the company down -- into the SMB market.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Fred Chang
CHAIRMAN AND CEO, NEWEGG.COM
By sticking to basics, Newegg is blazing a trail in distribution that VARs are following. Thanks to Chang's strategies, Newegg is now seen as a viable sourcing alternative to the likes of Synnex, Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Kevin Turner
COO, MICROSOFT
Tasked with taking Microsoft into the software-as-a-service era without leaving partners behind, Turner is not afraid to experiment. Will the resulting "software-plus-services" strategy stand the test of time?

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Next: Hector Ruiz

Hector Ruiz
CEO, AMD
Ruiz led AMD to successfully challenge Intel's stranglehold on the processor market, by producing the first widely available dual-core x86 processor. And when Intel debuted its quad-core chip, AMD did one better by designing a "native" quad-core.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Eric Schmidt
CEO, GOOGLE
Thanks to Schmidt, it's Google world -- we just live in it. Over the past year, Schmidt spearheaded a variety of innovative initiatives that inspired solution providers to become Google channel partners, so as not to get left behind.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Mitch Breen
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL CHANNEL SALES, EMC
Breen has been fighting an uphill battle to convince solution providers that EMC is a channel-friendly vendor. And while some VARs still trust EMC as far as they trust Dell, Breen's efforts may soon pay off.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Rauline Ochs
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT FOR ORACLE'S NORTH AMERICA ALLIANCE AND CHANNELS ORGANIZATION
Challenged with turning Oracle into a channel-friendly company, Ochs was instrumental in the launch of the software company's all-partner territories strategy.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Bruce Geier
PRESIDENT & CEO, TIG
Geier is taking on the global market, expanding solution provider TIG's reach to two other continents and counting. And with the growth potential available globally, Geier expects a lot of travel in his future.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Next: David Hemler

David Hemler
PRESIDENT, BEST BUY FOR BUSINESS
Hemler is a gamblin' man -- he's betting that openly asking channel partners for help and soliciting feedback will provide ideas on how best to improve a number of Best Buy for Business' offerings.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Greg Spierkel
CEO, INGRAM MICRO
Spierkel has a reputation among solution providers for delivering promised results on time. His integrity may prove key to expanding Ingram's global footprint while still maintaining good relations with the channel at home.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Keith Goodwin
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE CHANNELS, CISCO SYSTEMS
Goodwin understands that solution providers come in different forms, and he's not afraid to try new ideas.' So now Cisco's new partner programs target solution providers based on their business model rather than what they sell.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Rance Poehler
PRESIDENT, PANASONIC COMPUTER SOLUTIONS COMPANY
Poehler know his company can't compete in the mobile PC market on price, so he gives Panasonic's relationships with solution providers the personal touch.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Mark Enzweiler
VICE PRESIDENT, NORTH AMERICAN CHANNEL SALES, RED HAT
Enzweiler helped organize a massive channel program overhaul at Red Hat this year, and sales through the channel indicate his efforts are paying off.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Next: Gavin Garbutt

Gavin Garbutt
PRESIDENT & CEO, N-ABLE TECHNOLOGIES
Garbutt's foresight and understanding of the changes occurring in the IT consulting industry has placed N-able as the forefront of the managed services evolution.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Gianfranco Lanci
PRESIDENT, ACER
Lanci took a shot at the competition by predicting Acer would overtake the market share in a matter of months. He then put his money where his mouth is with two bold acquisitions.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Frank Vitagliano
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF WORLDWIDE CHANNELS, JUNIPER
Vitagliano helped transform Juniper Networks into a channel leader in under two years, by setting four priorities that Juniper tries to consistently meet with channel partners.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Dan Schwab
VICE PRESIDENT, MARKETING,
D&H DISTRIBUTING
Schwab has a talent for seeing opportunities in unexpected places, and he brings 'D&H's channel partners along for the ride.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Paul Otellini
CEO, INTEL
With 30 years at Intel under his belt, Otellini consistently delivers good value to Intel's channel partners, even as Intel's relationship with the channel evolves.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Next: Jim Simpson

Jim Simpson
PRESIDENT & CEO, MSI SYSTEMS INTEGRATORS
Simpson believes in face-to-face client interaction, and building strong relationships.' MSI aims to develop the right solution for each client before spending a dime.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Jim Firestone
PRESIDENT OF NORTH AMERICA, XEROX
Firestone delivers on Xerox's promises to the channel, engaging solution providers in greater numbers than ever before.

[READ THE FULL PROFILE]

Mont Phelps
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NWN
Phelps has both far-reaching vision, and the ability to execute ideas. He's defied conventional wisdom by focusing efforts on product as an integral part of the overall solution.

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Mike Borman
VICE PRESIDENT, WORLDWIDE SALES, IBM SOFTWARE GROUP
Borman's unconventional strategy of teaming IBM up with part-time competitors seems counterintuitive, but delivers bottom-line results.

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Kevin Gilroy
CO-PRESIDENT, ARROW'S ENTERPRISE COMPUTING SOLUTIONS DIVISION
Gilroy hasn't even been co-president a full year yet, but he's already he's streamlined processes for working with solution provider customers of the distribution leader.

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