2024 Channel Chiefs: Keeping Partners Top Of Mind

Successful channel executives recognize the increasingly strategic role their channel partners play and are developing go-to-market plans and creating partner programs that help partners meet those challenges. Here are our 2024 Channel Chief honorees.

Solution providers are playing play an increasingly strategic role in how vendors go to market and meet the IT needs of their customers. That means more demands on channel executives and the partner programs they develop and manage.

Channel chiefs are forging ahead to meet all of these evolving needs of their partners.

Take Denise Millard, who was named Dell Technologies’ channel chief in October. “If you think about the contribution of the partners, they drove approximately 50 percent of the net revenue, and channel drives 65 percent of our new buyers and reactivated buyers. So the model is working. The program is working. We have a ton of momentum,” Millard told CRN shortly after her appointment.

Millard was senior vice president of global alliances, industries, partner strategy and programs at the time and was promoted to chief partner officer last month. Dell also named Diego Majdalani to be president of global channel sales.

For Zscaler, a leading provider of zero trust security services, about 99 percent of its business involves an ecosystem partner. So it was no surprise when the company hired cybersecurity channel veteran Karl Soderlund in March as its new senior vice president of global partners and alliances.

“The opportunities for partners will be greater in the next five years than they have in the last 25 years,” Soderlund told CRN following his appointment. “There is a global IT shortage of cybersecurity professionals. There is a lot of transition within companies right now with folks leaving and the demand for talent. And so the partners have an opportunity to provide these services, to provide consulting, to provide life-cycle management to these customers.”

As it does each year, CRN has assembled the CRN 2024 Channel Chiefs, a list of the pre-eminent channel executives in the IT industry. On CRN.com you can find the complete list of the CRN 2024 Channel Chiefs, along with their profiles, most recent channel achievements, channel philosophy—even information about their first job in the channel and what lessons they learned.

We also provide channel chiefs’ answers to such questions as where they want their channel partners to invest this year, what they see as the biggest challenges for partners in 2024, how they leverage their role to build equity and inclusion, and the state of their company’s AI offerings sold through the channel.

The 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2024 are an elite group drawn from the larger pool of channel chief honorees each year that represent the cream of the IT channel crop—leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships.

This year’s CRN Channel Chiefs list is especially important given the number of changes in top channel executive ranks at major IT companies in just the last year.

In addition to Millard at Dell and Soderlund at Zscaler, top channel executives appointed during the past year include Rodney Clark, senior vice president, partnerships and small and medium business at Cisco Systems; Steve Corfield, executive vice president of worldwide alliances and channels at Salesforce; Simon Ewington, worldwide channel and partner ecosystem leader at Hewlett Packard Enterprise; and Colleen Kapase, vice president of channels and partner programs at Google Cloud

The list also includes Ken McCray, vice president of channel sales, U.S., at Fortinet; Tyler Prince, senior vice president of worldwide alliances and channels at Snowflake; Mark Taylor, North America channel chief at AMD; Mark Tina, channel chief and vice president indirect partner sales at Verizon; and Trevor Vickers, general manager of global partners and support at Intel.

O’Ryan Johnson and Wade Tyler Millward contributed to this article.