The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2010

The Top 25

CRN's annual ranking of IT's 25 most influential executives includes the leaders who have had the greatest impact on the IT channel and the solution provider business in the last year. Here's a look at who made the cut in part 1 of our Top 100 Executives Of 2010.

1. Paul Maritz, President and CEO, VMware

No one -- and we do mean no one -- has powered more high-margin sales and profits for partners this year. Think about this: VMware virtual machines now outnumber physical servers. Virtual deployments are expected to be up 28 percent this year. VMware, meanwhile, is posting sales gains at a 40 percent-plus clip. This year, Maritz and company delivered more product innovation than some companies do in a lifetime, giving VMware market leadership in the cloud market. Maritz has the technical chops to know where the market is going and he isn’t afraid to make the necessary big bets.

2. Paul Otellini, President and CEO, Intel

He has done the near impossible: making the chip giant that dominated the PC market relevant in a world of smartphones and cloud computing. That’s what his $7.68 billion McAfee buy is all about.

3. Leo Apotheker, President and CEO, Hewlett-Packard

He’s already reaching out to partners and has big plans to make the $125 billion company a software power. Look for him to bring enterprise-software focused partners into the HP channel fold.

4. Joseph Tucci, Chairman, President and CEO, EMC

His leadership has turned the onetime direct-sales bully into a record-breaking channel partner. EMC won six CRN Annual Report Card awards, the only one to sweep two categories.

5. Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft

He has provided the muscle to move the company’s vast partner network into the cloud. At the same time, he has kept the Windows/Office franchise firing on all cylinders.

6. Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO, Dell

He’s moved from entrepreneur to world-class CEO working side by side with solution providers to drive channel growth. A former direct sales mastermind, his channel track record now speaks for itself.

7. Samuel Palmisano, Chairman and CEO, IBM

Call him the thinking man’s CEO. He has made aggressive acquisitions this year, especially in software, while pushing cloud computing and midmarket solutions to Big Blue partners.

8. John Chambers, Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems

He continues to boldly take Cisco into the markets that matter most to customers and partners: video, data center, servers. No one is better at guiding partners to high-growth, high-margin terrain.

9. Larry Ellison, CEO, Oracle

He’s a controversial leader who has remade Oracle into the king of end-to-end high performance enterprise computing hardware/software solutions. Buying Sun. Hiring Mark Hurd. What’s next?

10. Kevin Johnson, CEO, Juniper Networks

He’s beating Cisco with Innovative products and no-holds barred channel commitment. He has doubled down on innovation and the channel, and it paid off with a CRN Annual Report Card victory.

11. Bill McDermott, Co-CEO, SAP

He’s leading the charge to make the enterprise software giant a midmarket channel power. He has also set his sights on pushing SAP into the fast changing smartphone game via his $5.8 billion acquisition of Sybase.

12. Zach Nelson, President and CEO, NetSuite

The original king of the cloud: He was bringing partners into the cloud with a sturdy channel offering long before it was fashionable. He has picked up the pace this year with the best cloud channel terms ever for partners.

13. Rory Read, President and COO Lenovo

He’s the driving force behind Lenovo’s ability to grow faster than the overall PC market. He is also a master at the product/channel blocking and tackling that is paying off big time in profits for solution providers.

14. Enrique Salem, President and CEO, Symantec

He’s one of the most underrated chief executives around. No one has made bigger gains solidifying relationships with solution provider partners and charting a course for the future in areas such as data protection.

15. Herve Tardy, VP and GM, Distributed Power Quality Division, Eaton

He’s put the $12 billion company on the fast-growth track with power/cooling solutions for the data center market. Tardy is aiming to drive even more product and channel innovation for partners in 2011.

16. Rob McKernan, President, North America APC, by Schneider Electric

He’s seizing the opportunity to change the rules of the game as architect of a major initiative to put more channel partners into the power/cooling data center business.

17. William McCracken, CEO, CA Technologies

He’s turned CA into a Legitimate cloud power and is a seasoned executive who has figured out how to make CA into more than the sum of its parts and deliver profits for partners.

18. Mark Hurd, President, Oracle

HP’s loss is Oracle’s gain. An operations master while CEO of HP, Hurd had the company—and its solution providers—firing on all cylinders by focusing on sales. Look for him to have a major impact at Oracle.

19. Marc Benioff, CEO,

He keeps finding new ways to drive cloud and SaaS sales growth at the $1.6 billion cloud behemoth. He even cracked the social networking code with the introduction of the company’s Chatter product.

20. Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox

She has Transformed Xerox into a services champion. Her channel leadership has put Xerox at the top of the managed print services pyramid without sacrificing product innovation.

21. Eugene Kaspersky, CEO, Kaspersky Lab

He’s a master at pushing the security envelope to deliver best in-class protection for customers and big profits for partners. His leadership has created one of best channel programs in the industry.

22. Greg Spierkel, CEO, Ingram Micro

He’s made all the right moves to keep the $33 billion company at the top of the distribution space. His vision for the cloud/services arena is second to none in the industry, as is his view of the global IT market.

23. Kevin Murai, CEO, Synnex

The distributor just keeps getting stronger and stronger under his leadership. Synnex has developed a much sharper focus on solutions in the hot managed print services market and health-care vertical.

24. Dan and Michael Schwab, Co-Presidents, D&H Distributing

The SMB superheroes: a Superman/Spiderman duo that has done the impossible, providing even more services and support for SMB VARs during the downturn. Proof that 1+1=100.

25. Jeff Volpe VP, GM, ViewSonic Americas

He led the longtime display company back to the No. 1 spot in the CRN Annual Report Card display category for the first time in eight years. He’s now moving ViewSonic into new markets such as tablets.

For more of The Top 100 Executives Of 2010, see part 2 of our list, The 25 Most Innovative Executives Of 2010.