The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2022
These 25 executives offered solution providers much-needed partnership at a time when the channel needed it most.
For our list of the 25 Most Influential Executives of 2022, we’ve selected leaders who’ve been making an outsized impact during this turbulent period through a combination of exceptional vision, know-how and execution.
No one better exemplifies that drive to go further and faster than Hewlett Packard Enterprise President and CEO Antonio Neri, our No. 1 Most Influential Executive. Over the last four years, Neri has transformed the legacy infrastructure product provider into an on-premises cloud services powerhouse that is going head to head against Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
Crucially, these leaders have all brought a focus on working closely with solution provider partners in order to help customers across industries navigate the global challenges they all face.
What follows is our list of the 25 Most Influential Executives of 2022.
And for the full list of CRN’s Top 100 Executives of 2022, click here.
25. Larry Ellison
Co-Founder, Executive Chairman, CTO
Ellison remains feistier than ever, taking every opportunity to count Oracle’s wins against rivals such as AWS and SAP. The company has introduced new capabilities in its cloud and database offerings, with a particular zeal for ruling the health-care and financial services IT space.
24. Raghu Raghuram
Raghuram is transforming VMware into a Software-as-a-Service and multi-cloud software superstar. The CEO is forming new strategic partnerships with the world’s largest cloud players, launching innovative hybrid cloud solutions and doubling down on channel partners to lead its sales charge.
23. Rami Rahim
Under Rahim’s leadership, Juniper has been smashing software records and partner-driven orders. This year, the company’s enterprise business outpaced its dominant service provider business for the first time in the company’s history. The shift is indicative of the transformation journey Juniper has been on.
22. Sean Kerins
Distribution succeeds only when it gets components and systems to solution providers on time. And during a shortage of a wide range of components as factories still suffer the impacts of the pandemic, Arrow under Kerins has become a key force in shortening supply chains and keeping businesses running.
21. Charles Giancarlo
Chairman and CEO
Pure Storage under Giancarlo has taken the flash storage world by storm and is on track to soon become the top flash storage system producer. The company also has demonstrated how to keep systems up to date without forklift upgrades and is making flash the center of data centers and clouds.
20. Paul Bay
Bay, who was named CEO of Ingram Micro early this year, is investing in resources to help partners take advantage of the demand for digital transformation and recurring revenue business models. The distributor recently unveiled its Xvantage digital twin platform and expanded its partnership with AWS.
19. Marc Benioff
Benioff may be sharing the CEO title nowadays with Bret Taylor, but Salesforce is still his baby. As the giant in CRM and data analytics integrates its offerings with Slack, he is making moves to dominate front-office software and collaboration. The company has also made big investments in its partner program.
18. Rich Hume
Hume led the successful merger of Tech Data and Synnex to create the IT world’s largest distributor, and in under a year has welded the two into a single entity that has not only done well financially but has forged ahead on integration faster than many expected.
17. George Kurian
In his seven years at the helm of NetApp, Kurian has turned the former stodgy storage vendor into a cloud champion with a focus not only on storage but also on cloud operations, compute, VDI and more. He has shown how legacy vendors can not only survive in the cloud era but also become leaders.
16. Ken Xie
Founder, Chairman, CEO
One of the top cybersecurity companies in the world, Fortinet, founded and run by Xie, just keeps on growing, most recently by 34.4 percent in the first quarter of this fiscal year. Xie sees a big growth opportunity for Fortinet’s operational technology business as manufacturers stare down security threats.
15. Yang Yuanqing
Under Yang’s leadership, Lenovo achieved a milestone in its 2022 fiscal year, hitting a record $70 billion in revenue. In May, Yang said that as good as the past two years have been, his sights are set on still more growth in areas where the company has been driving investment.
14. Kris Hagerman
Sophos for the past decade has been led by Hagerman, who has seen his share of industry and company changes over the years, including its 2019 purchase by Thoma Bravo. These days, Sophos is more likely to be the one acquiring others, having purchased SOC.OS, a cloud-based security alert investigation provider.
13. Bill McDermott
McDermott is taking ServiceNow to new heights. The digital workflow company in its last few fiscal quarters has shown revenue growth rates that make most companies jealous, which has led to McDermott pledging that ServiceNow will be a $15 billion company by 2026.
12. Nikesh Arora
Palo Alto Networks
When you’re the head of one of the leading cybersecurity players in the world and it keeps on growing, then you most definitely have influence—and Arora has that in abundance. Palo Alto Networks saw a nearly 30 percent year-over-year gain in revenue in the third quarter this fiscal year.
11. Thomas Kurian
Since becoming CEO in late 2018, Kurian has added over 15,000 employees and has consistently grown sales by billions of dollars year over year. Google Cloud has blossomed from a data analytics cloud specialist into a premier enterprise cloud platform that operates with the same speed as a startup.
10. Lisa Su
Chair and CEO
Su is focused on the opportunities ahead with the acquisition of Xilinx, which expands AMD’s portfolio into the FPGA business, and its acquisition of Pensando, a move that will give it distributed computing technology for working with cloud, compute, networking, storage and security services.
9. Enrique Lores
There’s no denying HP Inc. has enjoyed some stellar financial results and innovation with Lores at the helm. Now, with the upcoming acquisition of Poly for $3.3 billion, Lores has said that the deal creates a “more growth-oriented portfolio” and strengthens its opportunity around “hybrid work solutions.”
8. Pat Gelsinger
Gelsinger has really shaken things up at Intel. Since taking the CEO reins in 2021, the company has embarked on an ambitious mission to overtake its major semiconductor competitors and reclaim its silicon throne. Gelsinger’s road map includes a multibillion-dollar manufacturing gambit in the U.S. and Europe.
7. Satya Nadella
Under Nadella, the tech giant has grown its dominance in cloud computing and productivity applications while finding innovative ways to integrate its vast portfolio, adding new features to Teams, Power Apps and Outlook. His vision for Microsoft includes dominating IoT and the metaverse.
6. Arvind Krishna
Krishna has brought a partner-centric savviness to IBM that is paying off for partners. His “win-win-win” philosophy is propelling big growth for IBM in the battle for multi-cloud architecture supremacy. He also deserves credit for keeping IBM’s Red Hat sales drive firing on all cylinders.
5. Chuck Robbins
Robbins, the tech giant’s leader for seven years, has taken Cisco through not one but two transformations. He’s been focused on directing Cisco’s metamorphosis from hardware heavyweight to software giant and now has his sights set on driving the company’s Cisco Plus as-a-service strategy.
4. Michael Dell
Founder, Chairman, CEO
Considered by many to be one of the greatest business minds of his generation, Michael Dell spun out VMware from Dell last year but kept his majority interest and seat as the head of the board. The company that bears his name is coming off its best year in sales, with annual revenue of $101 billion.
3. Adam Selipsky
Amazon Web Services
Selipsky returned to AWS in May 2021 and has hit the ground running, driving massive growth that included $18.4 billion in its first fiscal quarter, a 37 percent year-over-year sales spike. He is focused on enhancing the AWS Marketplace, forming new strategic partnerships and doubling down on security.
2. George Kurtz
Co-Founder, President, CEO
Kurtz is a security technology visionary who has turned the tide on cybercriminals with CrowdStrike’s cloud-first approach. The company’s comprehensive Falcon platform, along with Kurtz’s “partner-first” commitment, are proving to be an unbeatable combination for partners.
1. Antonio Neri
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Neri made a big bet on Everything as a Service as far back as four years ago. That bet has put HPE far ahead of legacy infrastructure providers like Dell Technologies and Cisco Systems in the rapidly emerging Everything-as-a-Service contest.
It has also forever changed the channel landscape, with HPE partners moving from selling infrastructure products in a capital expenditure transactional model to selling on-premises cloud services in a consumption model that pits HPE GreenLake head-to-head against Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.
Most remarkably, Neri this year delivered on his pledge made at the HPE Global Partner Summit three years ago to move HPE and its partners to the cloud consumption model. At the time, Neri told partners: “Three years from now, this company will become consumption-driven and everything we do—whether it is at the edge, the core, the cloud business—software or infrastructure and services will be available to you and to our customers as a service.”
Now that pledge -- which at the time seemed like a pipe dream -- is a reality. Neri’s success bringing HPE and its partners into the consumption-based cloud services market has earned him the No. 1 Most Influential Executive on CRN’s 2022 Top 100 Executives List.