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The Top 25 Disrupters Of 2015

As part of the Top 100 Executives Of 2015, CRN looks at 25 execs that are throwing a curveball at the technology world.

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1. Jesse Cohn, Senior Portfolio Manager, Head, U.S. Equity Activism

Elliott Management

Jesse Cohn has done more to disrupt the IT industry than any tech executive. And the young portfolio manager's reputation for forcing companies to to make big changes is only growing following his successful bid to get Citrix Systems to enter into a "cooperation" agreement with Elliott Management. As part of the agreement, Cohn will be appointed to the Citrix board of directors, longtime CEO Mark Templeton is retiring and Citrix is now considering a sale or spinoff of some products.

Cohn has been the spear point of New York-based Elliott Management in some of the most high-profile activist campaigns in the past couple of years, including moves to take Riverbed Technologies, BMC Software and Novell private, and add new members to Juniper Networks' board of directors.

In perhaps his most public case so far, Cohn has been heavily involved in Elliott Management's move to break up the EMC Federation by forcing the storage giant to sell off a part of itself, perhaps VMware, as a way to realize increased shareholder value. And given that Elliott Management has a 2-plus-percent stake in EMC, that would be a lot of value for Cohn's firm. EMC so far has resisted, and the two have a truce for now until September.

Now, according to Bloomberg, Cohn and Elliot Management are going a step further with the creation of a multibillion-dollar buyout fund run by Cohn that would in some instances actually purchase entire companies instead of minor stakes in them.

Fear him or welcome him, but when Cohn knocks on your door, get ready for the ride of your life.

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