The Biggest IT Executive Moves Of 2023
Cognizant, Atos, Leidos, Check Point, Liongard and Zscaler are among the companies that made major executive changes in 2023.
Let’s be honest: The true biggest executive move of 2023 in all of tech is likely Microsoft-backed ChatGPT creator OpenAI CEO Sam Altman’s ouster – only to return as CEO days later.
But for this list, we’ll ignore that special case and focus on executives who changed employers or received promotions to the top spot at a solution provider or vendor who works with solution providers.
CRN gave emphasis to people who received the CEO or channel chief title during 2023.
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Top Exec Moves 2023
The executive hiring came despite a year that has seen mass layoffs across technology vendors and solution providers of all sizes – a trend credited to moderate customer spending on technology since the height of the global pandemic.
Microsoft, Intel, Rapid7, Google, DellTechnologies, TD Synnex, Ingram Micro, Slalom, Accenture, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Twilio, Broadcom and many more companies were among those announcing layoffs that impacted tens of thousands of employees during the year.
Despite all the layoffs, the tech sector’s unemployment rate stayed below the national rate, with tech hovering around 2 percent and the national rate staying around 3.5 percent to 4 percent, according to CompTIA data.
The tech industry unemployment rate still pales compared to the almost 4.5 percent seen in 2020.
Job posting volumes did fall this year from about 250,000 to about 150,000, according to CompTIA data. January 2020’s volume of about 325,000 postings fell to about 175,000 postings by November.
Read on for more of the biggest executive moves seen during 2023.
Infima brought Larry Meador on in October as its first-ever channel chief.
Meador joined the Orlando-based security awareness training platform provider after about two years with DataStream Cyber Insurance, according to his LinkedIn account.
He previously worked at Greenlink Networks for about a year as channel manager, leaving in 2021. His resume includes more than 11 years with CNET Content Solutions and 1WorldSync, according to his LinkedIn account. 1WorldSync bought CNET Content Solutions in 2020. He left 1WorldSync in 2021.
William Flannery became CEO of Dataprise in October.
In this role, Flannery is tasked with “nurturing client relationships, fostering professional development among associates, and navigating the ever-evolving technology landscape, with a strong commitment to operational excellence and client satisfaction,” according to a company statement.
Flannery came to the Rockville, Md.-based company – No. 264 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500 – after about eight years with Ensono, according to his LinkedIn account. He left Ensono with the title of executive vice president, chief operating officer and general manager.
Lori Williams became CEO of Caylent in August, according to a company statement. She succeeded co-founder and CEO JP La Torre, who moved into an advisory position.
Williams joined the Irvine, Calif.-based company – No. 380 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500 – after about three years as president of services for Traction on Demand, according to her LinkedIn account. Salesforce bought Traction on Demand last year.
Her resume includes about a year as CEO of Throughline Consulting, which she founded, and about two years as co-CEO and chief delivery officer at Gigster. She left Throughline in 2020 and Gigster in 2019.
Williams also worked at Appirio for more than seven years, leaving in 2017 with the title of general manager of emerging technologies, according to her LinkedIn account.
Joshua Skeens was promoted to CEO of Logically in January, succeeding Michelle Accardi.
Skeens was previously the chief operating officer of Portland, Maine-based Logically – a member of CRN’s 2022 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500.
He joined Logically through the 2021 acquisition of managed security services provider (MSSP) Cerdant. Skeens had worked at Cerdant for more than 14 years before the acquisition.
His final role at Cerdant was chief technology officer and COO. He started at Cerdant as a network services manager in 2007, according to his LinkedIn account.
In June, Doug Merritt started as Aviatrix’s chairman, CEO and president.
Merritt came to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based secure cloud networking vendor after more than seven years with Splunk, according to his LinkedIn account. Merritt lefrt Splunk in 2021 as its CEO.
His resume includes about two years with Cisco, leaving the vendor in 2014 with the title of senior vice president of product and solution marketing.
He worked at SAP for about six years, leaving in 2011 with the title of global executive vice president and general manager for OnDemand solutions, according to his LinkedIn account.
ControlUp hired Jed Ayres in August as CEO.
Ayres came to the Santa Clara, Calif.-based digital employee experience software platform developer after about seven years as CEO of IGEL Technology, according to his LinkedIn account.
His resume includes about a year with AppSense as senior vice president of marketing and about three years with MCPc as chief marketing officer, according to his LinkedIn account.
Sumo Logic made Joe Kim its president and CEO in May, just days after private equity group Francisco Partners bought the then-publicly traded vendor for $1.7 billion.
Kim came to the Redwood City, Calif.-based cloud management tools vendor after working at Francisco Partners as a senior operating partner for less than a year, according to his LinkedIn account.
He previously worked at Citrix for about two years, according to his LinkedIn account. He left Citrix in 2022 with the title of executive vice president, chief product officer and chief technology officer.
In that role, he “was responsible for shepherding the development and delivery of the company’s $3.2B portfolio of products, technologies, and solutions” and managed more than 3,000 employees.
Kim also worked at SolarWinds for about five years, according to his LinkedIn account. He left the company in 2020 with the title of executive vice president of engineering and global CTO.
OneNeck IT Solutions
Wiessing was previously chief operating officer with Madison, Wis.-based OneNeck – a memberof CRN’s 2023 Managed Service Provider 500 and part of telecommunications company Telephone and Data Systems (TDS) – since March 2022, according to his LinkedIn account.
He had been with the TDS companies since 2002 and worked in various leadership roles in IT operations, application development, security and privacy, according to the statement.
In May, Jeff Schmidt became CEO of ECI, according to a company statement. Outgoing CEO David Andrade was set to consult with the company during the transition period.
Schmidt came to Boston-based ECI – a member of CRN’s 2023 Managed Service Provider 500 – after about four years as founding CEO of Avertium, according to his LinkedIn account. He tripled Avertium’s revenues during his tenure.
He previously led Authomate as president and CEO for about four years, according to his LinkedIn account. He left the company in 2019. GCOM bought Authomate in 2021.
In February. Leslie Maher joined Virtana as vice president of global channels and strategic alliances. She succeeded channel chief Bob Kilbride.
In this role, she was assigned to “manage and develop all partner routes to market, including Solution Providers, Managed Service providers (MSPs), Systems Integrators, Distributors, OEM and Strategic Alliances.”
Before joining the Palo Alto, Calif.-based cloud management and migration tools vendor, Maher worked at Hewlett Packard Enterprise for more than eight years, according to her LinkedIn account. She left the company in October with the title of vice president of sales.
In this role, she was a “senior advisor for key strategic initiatives including new customer acquisition, channel ecosystem evolution and sales optimization,” according to her LinkedIn account.
Her resume includes more than three years with Cisco. She left the company in 2014 with the title of senior director of United States enterprise data center sales, according to her LinkedIn account.
She worked at Oracle and Sun Microsystems for more than 20 years, according to her LinkedIn account. Oracle bought Sun in 2010 for $7.4 billion. Maher left Oracle in 2011 with the title of regional vice president.
Virtana has about 240 worldwide channel partners and 160 in North America, according to CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs.
Dave Donatelli assumed the CEO role at Riverbed Technology in July following the vendor’s acquisition by private equity firm Vector Capital.
Donatelli replaced Dan Smoot, Riverbed’s CEO since 2021, who continued to support the company on a transitional basis.
Before joining the San Francisco-based network and applications visibility vendor, Donatelli worked at Oracle for about five years, according to his LinkedIn account. He left in 2020 with the title of executive vice president of the cloud business group.
He also worked at Hewlett-Packard for about five years, leaving in 2014 with the title of executive vice president of the enterprise group. (Hewlett-Packard split into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP in 2015.)
Riverbed has about 3,000 worldwide channel partners, 750 of them in North America, accordingto CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs.
Tony Beller became channel chief and senior vice president of global partner sales at Tanium in November.
Beller came to the Kirkland, Wash.-based security vendor after about five years with Cloud Software Group and Tibco, according to his LinkedIn account. CSG was created from the 2022 merger of Tibco and Citrix.
His resume includes about two years with Anaplan. He left the company in 2020 with the title of vice president of worldwide strategy and alliances and MSP sales.
Sumit Dhawan became CEO of Proofpoint in November.
Dhawan joined the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based security vendor shortly after the close of Broadcom’s $61 billion acquisition of VMware. Dhawan served as president of VMware for more than two years.
He worked at VMware for more than seven years on and off during his career, according to his LinkedIn account. He left his role as senior vice president and general manager in 2018 to lead Instart as CEO.
Akamai acquired Instart in 2020 and Dhawan returned to VMware.
Cybereason named Eric Gan its new CEO in April, taking over for co-founder Lior Div.
Gan joined the Boston-based cybersecurity vendor from SoftBank Corp., where he serves as an executive vice president and director. SoftBank also led a $100 million round of funding in Cybereason alongside Gan’s appointment.
Gan, who formerly co-founded mobile telecom firm eAccess, has been involved with Cybereason since SoftBank’s original investment into the company in 2015, according to a company statement.
Karl Soderlund joined Zscaler in March as channel chief.
Soderlund came to the San Jose, Calif.-based cybersecurity vendor after about six years with Palo Alto Networks, according to his LinkedIn account. He left the company with the title of senior vice president of North America ecosystem sales.
His resume includes more than a year with Imperva. He left that company in 2016 with the title of vice president of worldwide channels and alliances.
Soderlund previously worked at Aruba Networks for more than a year, according to his LinkedIn account. He left in 2015 with the title of vice president of worldwide channels and alliances.
Before that he worked at Avaya for more than two years. He left the company in 2014 with the title of vice president of Americas channel sales, according to his LinkedIn account.
Zscaler has about 900 North American channel partners, about 1,900 worldwide, according to data from CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs list.
Last month, Liongard named Michelle Accardi its CEO. Former CEO and co-founder Joe Alapat became chief technology officer.
Accardi joined the Houston-based MSP-focused automation platform vendor after about two years with Logically where she was CEO, according to her LinkedIn account.
Her resume includes more than eight years with Star2Star, a Sangoma company, according to her LinkedIn account. Accardi left Star2Star in 2021 with the title of president and chief revenue officer.
Liongard has about 2,000 worldwide channel partners, about 1,500 of them in North America, according to CRN’s 2023 Channel Chiefs data.
In March, Francisco Criado joined Check Point Software Technologies as its new global channel chief.
Criado came to the San Carlos, Calif.-based cybersecurity vendor after more than 12 years with TD Synnex, Tech Data and Avnet. He left TD Synnex with the title of senior vice president of cloud, data and internet of things (IoT), according to his LinkedIn account.
Check Point has about 1,600 North American channel partners, 7,800 worldwide, according to data from CRN’s 2022 Channel Chiefs list.
Bell came to Reston, Va.-based Leidos – No. 11 on CRN’s 2023 Solution Provider 500 – after about eight years on and off with Rolls-Royce and about 27 years on and off with Boeing.
He left Rolls-Royce this year with the title of president of defense and chairman and CEO of the company’s North America region. He left Boeing in 2018 with the title of senior vice president of global sales and marketing.
Yves Bernaert became CEO of Atos in October.
He left Accenture with the title of CEO of Accenture Technology in Europe. He joined the solution provider giant in 1992.
Ravi Kumar S
Cognizant installed a new CEO, Ravi Kumar S, in January. Kumar replaced former CEO Brian Humphries.
Kumar came to the Teaneck, N.J.-based company – No. 7 on CRN’s 2022 Solution Provider 500 list – after about 20 years with Infosys. He left Infosys in October with the title of president.
As Infosys president, Kumar was “global head of all Service lines & Specialized Digital Sales cutting across Consulting, Technology, Infrastructure, Engineering and Process with 220K+ employees and 12Bn$ annual revenues,” according to his LinkedIn account. He oversaw the company’s consulting subsidiary and global alliances, partnerships and ecosystems, among other responsibilities.
During his tenure with Infosys, Kumar held other roles, including chief delivery officer and executive vice president and global head of the insurance, health care, cards and payments business unit, according to his LinkedIn account.