The Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders Of 2023
As part of CRN’s Top 100 Executives Of 2023 list, we highlight 25 sales executives leading the channel charge.
The best channel sales leaders understand that going the extra mile for solution providers is a win-win that leads to greater growth for both the vendor and the partners on the front lines.
For our list of the Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders of 2023, we’ve selected executives who are driving partner growth and profitability with enhanced programs, improved engagement and other channel-friendly investments.
Many of these leaders are accelerating recurring revenue opportunities for partners while helping the channel to expand into new solutions and service areas.
What follows is our list of the Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders of 2023.
Be sure to also check out the complete list of CRN’s Top 100 Executives Of 2023.
25. Aparna Khurjekar
CRO, Business Markets, SaaS
Khurjekar thrives on helping channel partners and end customers grow their strategies and revenue. She, along with her team, sup- ports midmarket wireless and wireline sales while helping to guide customers through their digital trans- formation journeys with the help of partners.
24. Gordon Mackintosh
VP, Worldwide Channels, Virtual Sales
Juniper’s channel leader since 2020, Mackintosh leads worldwide channel sales, distribution, global systems integrators, alliances, hyperscalers, partner programs and global virtual sales. He has doubled Juniper’s partner-led revenue through partner sales acceleration programs.
23. Ken McCray
VP, Channel Sales
McCray enhanced Fortinet’s Engage Partner Program, including adding two new service designations. Other recent updates have included new designations for the Network Security Expert Certification program, which bring a greater focus on targeted training for roles that are in high demand.
22. Gordon Lord
A channel veteran with a 27-year history at APC/ Schneider Electric, Lord has now stepped into a new role overseeing U.S. partners, having previously focused on its IT distribution and channel strategy. He earns kudos for his vast understanding of all things channel and for being wellrespected by partners.
21. Lori Cornmesser
SVP, Global Channels, Alliances
Deepwatch revamped its channel program with updates including deal renewal protections for incumbent partners. Cornmesser told CRN the new program is aimed at helping accelerate the deployment of the company’s MDR platform by addressing partners’ needs.
20. Kimberly King
VP, Global Strategic Partners, Alliances
King has led the charge at Hitachi Vantara in building closer ties with partners and driving more business their way. She has pushed for co-creation partnerships that rely on trust and collaboration while launching tools that let partners close deals faster and win new business.
19. Rhonda Henley
VP, Americas Partner Organization
Henley, a Cisco veteran of over two decades, is now leading the charge as channel chief of the Americas. She is dedicated to delivering an exceptional customer experience with the help of the channel, and she’s been hard at work this year aligning strategies and driving profitability for partners.
18. Steven Loeb
VP, Distributed Infrastructure Sales
Loeb led the sales and marketing integration following the merger between Eaton and Tripp Lite. He heads up a network of North American channel sales directors while also advancing Eaton’s infrastructure and connectivity offerings.
17. Steve Pataky
Head Of Sales
Cloudflare Area 1 Security
Pataky has continued to drive efforts around enabling partners following Cloudflare’s acquisition of Area 1 in 2022 . With a channel-focused strategy for expanding sales, Pataky is playing a central role in helping partners bring cloud-native email security to customers.
16. Frank Rauch
Global Channel Chief
Rauch has a rich 30-plusyear history advocating for the channel. He joined Cato Networks in January and immediately jumped into the driver’s seat leading Cato’s global channel ecosystem to help partners profit from the enterprise shift to cloud-native networking and security.
15. Christian Goffi
VP, America Channel Sales
Goffi has been busy this year shaping the strategic direction of the Nutanix channel partner ecosystem, which is the hyperconverged infrastructure provider’s primary route to market. Nutanix’s latest offering for partners—Project Beacon— promises multi-cloud flexibility regardless of where the workload lives.
14. Nicole Dezen
Chief Partner Officer, Corporate VP, Global Partner Solutions
About one year into her role leading the commercial partner business, Dezen continues her fight to empower Microsoft’s vast and varied channel in selling and supporting popular technologies such as cloud and emerging ones like generative AI.
13. Kate Woolley
GM, IBM Ecosystem
Woolley strives to work with partners of all types and provide them with resources to bring IBM’s offerings to market. She recently redesigned the partner program with tiers for Silver, Gold and Platinum partners; an accelerator program for new partners; and a promise to push more accounts to the channel.
12. Scott Mann
Hailed by partners for his deep understanding of the channel and the challenges solution providers face, Mann is described as a strong channel advocate who can effect change. Partners tout Mann’s leadership in eradicating channel conflict as a key superpower for Scale Computing.
11. Jenni Flinders
SVP, Partners, Channel
When Flinders joined NetApp in July 2021, she brought with her a strong channel background. At NetApp, a huge proponent of managing data across on-premises and cloud environments, she bolsters an environment in which partners have always been top of mind.
10. Craig Schlagbaum
SVP, Indirect Sales
A decorated channel leader of over three decades and Comcast’s channel chief for over 12 years, Schlagbaum, a tireless channel advocate, manages the combined indirect channel team and the overall indirect channel programs for Comcast Business and Masergy with over 5,000 U.S. partners.
9. Rob Cato
VP, North America Channels
Cato has been all in on the channel as he continues to lead Lenovo’s North American efforts to unlock new growth opportunities for partners and give them easier access to the company’s portfolio of services, servers and client devices as part of the Lenovo 360 global partner framework.
8. Kevin Ichhpurani
CVP, Head Of Global Ecosystem, Business Development
Google Cloud’s channel leader was key to creating new programs and incentives for partners around generative AI. Ichhpurani has helped partners create new playbooks, use cases and go-to-market strategies targeting specific verticals to drive AI adoption.
7. Kendra Krause
VP, Global Channels
As Sophos continues its shift to focus on security services, Krause has been on the front lines helping partners find increased success. She has supplied partners with the training and resources to help them capture the massive opportunities Sophos is working to unlock in security as a service.
6. Phil Soper
Head Of North America Partner Sales
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Soper has been a good steward of the GreenLake Everything-as-a-Service model, creating new cloud services opportunities including a new Storage-as-a-Service incentive that tripled the commission to 17 percent. He also ensured the 17 percent GreenLake rebate remained in place.
5. Ricky Cooper
Head Of Worldwide Partner, Commercial Organization
Cooper has rolled out a new partner program, Partner Connect 2.0, as he works toward bolstering what he told CRN is the “age of the partner.” With edge computing, AI and other trends rocking the industry, he said the key to winning is “partnering together.”
4. Rola Dagher
Global Channel Chief
As Dell’s channel chief, Dagher has been busy making things better for the company’s partners. She developed and unveiled a new partner program and told CRN that she is “focused on meeting customers needs’ and increasing the partner stickiness.”
3. Ruba Borno
VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances
Amazon Web Services
AWS’ fearless channel leader created a host of strategic collaboration agreements with partners this year aimed at taking their AWS sales to new heights. Borno is also driving new partnerships with ISVs and pushing partners to put more of their offerings on the AWS Marketplace.
2. Jason Kimrey
GM, U.S. Channel, Partner Programs
A stalwart champion of the channel, Kimrey has played a key role at Intel in strengthening ties with a wide range of U.S. partners while carrying out improvements in the Intel Partner Alliance program, such as reworked versions of Intel Partner University and Intel Solutions Marketplace.
1. Kobi Elbaz
GM, Global Channel Organization
When Elbaz started his job as HP Inc.’s global channel chief in late 2021, his priority was to get in front of partners and figure out “how we can accelerate the business together.”
Less than two years later, the 17-year company veteran has found new ways to do just that through several improvements to the IT giant’s Amplify partner program.
Among the changes, Elbaz has concocted a mutually beneficial plan to encourage partners to grow sales and margins while helping HP become a hybrid work powerhouse through recent acquisitions like Poly and Teradici.
Called “More for More,” the upcoming benefit will create a rate multiplier for compensation to partners who sell a wider range of products and services from HP’s expanded portfolio.
But Elbaz is not just thinking about business. He’s also finding new ways to encourage partners to participate in HP’s sustainability-focused Amplify Impact program and follow its goal to become the most sustainable tech company by 2030.