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Choose Your Chief: 2021 CRN Channel Madness Voting Is Now Open!

Jennifer Follett

CRN‘s seventh annual Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs begins with 32 of the industry’s most prominent channel executives and ends with one. Prepare to choose your chief.

It starts with 32 of the industry‘s most influential channel chiefs. It ends with one.

The 2021 CRN Channel Madness Tournament of Chiefs kicks off on Thursday, March 18, pitting some of the channel‘s best-known executives against each other in head-to-head battles where CRN readers vote to determine the victors.

The winners of our seventh annual tournament will make their way, round by round, through the bracket, moving closer and closer to the championship match, where bragging rights are at stake. The losers? Better luck next year.

Many fan favorites are back for another run, like Veeam’s Kevin Rooney—last year’s Channel Madness winner—and HP Inc.’s Scott Lannum, who also made it to the final round in 2020. But there are also some new faces in the contest, such as Nutanix’s Christian Alvarez, Scale Computing’s Scott Mann and WatchGuard’s Michelle Welch.

Will you give your vote to an industry veteran who’s had your back? An up-and-comer who’s opening new doors? Will you cast a vote for the executive who has advocated on your behalf or will you vote against someone who didn’t step up when you needed help? It’s up to you. The power of the vote is entirely in your hands.

One thing‘s for sure: It will all be a lot of fun.

Culled from CRN‘s 2021 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs list, CRN editors selected the 32 participants, representing a variety of vendors across the technology industry, from startups to stalwarts. Each represents one of four technology “regions:” Cloud, Hardware, Infrastructure and Security.

Voting for Round 1 opened on Thursday, March 18 at 10 AM ET with 16 executive face-offs and will remain open until Wednesday, March 24 at noon ET. You can follow all the action at and on social media with the hashtag #CRNChannelMadness  And there‘s still time to enter our bracket contest to see if you can predict the winner.

Here‘s a look at the 2021 CRN Channel Madness tournament matchups.


Shannon Sbar, Schneider Electric vs. Chris Lamborn, NetApp

Oliver Tuszik, Cisco Systems vs. Christian Alvarez, Nutanix

Rob Rae, Datto vs. George Hope, Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Curtiz Gangi, Eaton vs. Steve Biondi, Lenovo


Kimberly King, Hitachi Vantara vs. Rob Cato, Lenovo

Donna Grothjan, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company vs. Andy Zollo, StorageCraft Technology

Jason Kimrey, Intel vs. Rola Dagher, Dell Technologies

Scott Lannum, HP Inc., vs. Scott Mann, Scale Computing


Bob Lord, IBM vs. Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft

Doug Yeum, Amazon Web Services vs. Eric Martorano, Nextiva

Carolee Gearhart, Google Cloud vs. Jonathan McCormick, Intermedia

Kevin Rooney, Veeam Software vs. Sandy Hogan, VMware


Kendra Krause, Sophos vs. Todd Meister, Zscaler

Steve Pataky, Area 1 Security vs. Michelle Welch, WatchGuard Technologies

Frank Rauch, Check Point Software Technologies vs. Matthew Polly, CrowdStrike

Karl Soderlund, Palo Alto Networks vs. Joe Sykora, Proofpoint

So, fans, visit and choose your chief!

Learn More: Channel Madness
Jennifer Follett

Jennifer Follett is the Executive Editor for CRN where she has been covering the IT solution provider channel for 20 years. She currently oversees CRN magazine and, the website for the industry’s leading channel publication. She can be reached at

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