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Antonio Neri, Satya Nadella, Other Top Tech Leaders Mourn Pierre Nanterme

People around the IT industry, from top executives at the largest companies like Apple and Microsoft to many of the tens of thousands of Accenture employees on Thursday not just mourned the loss of the Accenture CEO, but celebrated his life.

While the passing away Thursday of former Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme was for many in the IT industry a time of sadness, it is also a time of celebration of the life of an IT executive who drove transformation at the company and made it a ever-bigger part of the industry.

Nanterme, who had been CEO since 2011, was diagnosed with colon cancer in July 2016 and underwent surgery shortly thereafter. He continued to be active in day-to-day operations of the company, but three weeks ago stepped down from his role.

Accenture, ranked number 2 on the 2018 CRN Solution Provider 500, named Marge Magner, the board’s lead independent director, as the company’s non-executive chair of the board.

[Related: Former Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme Dies]

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, used Twitter to commemorate the life of Nanterme.

"Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Pierre Nanterme. Pierre was a friend and visionary leader who drove the transformation of Accenture and set a benchmark for collaborative partnerships in our industry. He will be missed," Nadella wrote.  

Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Antonio Neri expressed deep sorrow at the passing of what he termed a visionary leader.

"It's hard to find the words to express how deeply saddened I am by this morning's news of Pierre Nanterme's passing. Pierre was an exceptionally visionary leader & a passionate equality advocate, with an innate drive for growth and a contagious energy. He will be sorely missed," Neri wrote in a tweet.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, tweeted that he was saddened to hear of Nanterme’s passing.

"He will be remembered for his contributions to business as well as his work toward equality in the workplace. Our deepest condolences go out to his friends, family and everyone at Accenture," Cook wrote.

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff remembered Nanterme's kindness and his vision.  

"I am so sad to hear of the passing of Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme a great executive who was always very kind to me. Pierre drove a tremendous vision for his company, his industry, & his country France—always with a loving heart. May the one who brings Peace bring Peace to all," Benioff tweeted.  

SAP CEO Bill McDermott tweeted that Nanterme had a positive impact on many lives.  

"On behalf of @SAP, deepest condolences to our friends @Accenture on the loss of Pierre Nanterme. Not enough room to describe the full measure of the man. Class, character & integrity personified. May his family get comfort from all the lives he made better. RIP, good friend," McDermott wrote.  

Candor and humility were hallmarks of Nanterme, wrote VMware Chief Operating Officer Sanjay Poonen.  

"Really saddened to hear about the passing away of @Accenture former CEO Pierre Nanterme. Every meeting I had with Pierre, I was struck by his candor and humility. Condolences to his family and friends," Poonen wrote.  

Many employees and executives from inside Accenture took to Twitter to express their sorrow at Nanterme's passing.  

Sander van 't Noordende, group chief executive products at Accenture, thanked Nanterme for his vision, leadership, support, humor, and friendship.  

"Accenture will not be the same without you. I will miss you. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work closely with you over the past 20 years," van 't Noordende tweeted.  

Paul Daugherty, chief technology and innovation officer at Accenture, remembered Nanterme as a mentor and friend.  

"Sad to lose a great leader, boss, mentor, visionary, friend. Much more than just @Accenture CEO. I’ll remember Pierre Nanterme for his incredible focus (always in 3’s), but equally for the twinkle in his eye, reflecting a sense of humor that made him truly special. Peace, Pierre," Daugherty tweeted.  

Kyle Rosenbaum, director of global corporate communications at UM Worldwide, tweeted a quote from Nanterme about leadership.  

"The art of leadership is not to spend your time measuring, evaluating. It's all about selecting the person. If you believe you selected the right person, then you give that person the freedom, authority, delegation to innovate & lead w/ some very simple measure," Rosenbaum quoted Nanterme as saying.  

Jamie Shepard, a managing director at Accenture who joined the company 18 months ago after having spent the previous 20-plus years as an entrepreneur and solution provider, told CRN that Nanterme was at heart a true entrepreneur himself.  

"Nanterme was absolutely adamant about bringing in outside talent," Shepard said. "When I met him the first time, I told him I was in IT for 22 years as an entrepreneur. He told me, 'We're the world's oldest entrepreneurial company.' He really lived that entrepreneurial spirit all the time."  

Nanterme was always reinventing Accenture, Shepard said. But it wasn't just reinventing the company. He was always evolving it.  

"Not a lot of companies can do that kind of evolution," he said. "You know agile programming, right? He built a culture where you could bring anyone who was qualified into the company and slide them right in."  

Nanterme was with Accenture for 36 years, during which he rose through the ranks, but never seemed to be tied to the "old school" way of doing things, Shepard said.  

"The first day I met him, he asked me what I do at Accenture," he said. "I told him I was a partner, and told him what I do. I said I was an entrepreneur. He said, 'Great! That's just what we're looking for.' That's how he was. He was awesome."

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