The Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders Of 2015

Getting the Message Out

Sales leaders can be hard-pressed to articulate the changing role of IT in an increasingly off-premise, mobile and digital world.

But these 25 CEOs and channel chiefs have risen to the challenge over the past year, adding new solution provider partners and markets, inking alliances with other vendors, growing revenue and market share, and rolling out new channel programs and incentives.

The telecom and storage/server segments are best represented on this list, with four channel chiefs each, while three executives each from networking and software-oriented vendors also appear. Here are the folks fueling growth in the channel.

Be sure to visit the complete list of CRN's Top 100 Executives Of 2015.

25. Vince Bradley



Vince Bradley founded WTG back in 1996 when he was just 26 years old and has turned it into a highly respected master agent connectivity distributor. Bradley inked a partnership with Curvature in August around its NetSure maintenance offering, and made WTG the first master agent with smart technology in its portfolio through a June agreement with SharpLink.

24. Blake Wetzel

Vice President, Channel Alliance


Blake Wetzel has expanded CenturyLink's Channel Alliance to include more sophisticated MSPs and VARs, system integrators and born-in-the-cloud partners, and broadened its reach through agreements with Ingram Micro and Arrow Electronics. Wetzel has also helped CenturyLink roll out a cloud reseller program which, for the first time, allows partners to sell cloud services themselves.

23. George Hope

Vice President, Global Channels


In his first 18 months at SimpliVity, George Hope has assembled a 15-person channel organization and launched the vendor's first formal channel program to help SimpliVity quickly scale in the competitive hyper-converged market. These efforts have paid off, with SimpliVity's partner base expanding by 250 percent since early 2014 and the company reporting three consecutive quarters of 100 percent revenue growth.

22. Steve Kaplan

Vice President, Strategic Sales


Steve Kaplan helped Nutanix launch a formal partner program in 2014 that mandates distribution and emphasizes national and large regional partners. This -- coupled with adding 16 people to Nutanix's channel organization -- is expected to boost margins and more than double partner revenue in 2015. Kaplan has also helped Nutanix attract a growing number of Fortune 500 customers.

21. Craig Schlagbaum

Vice President, Indirect Channels

Comcast Business Services

Craig Schlagbaum has built Comcast Business Services' channel strategy from scratch since joining the vendor in 2011, and now counts IT solution providers as 60 percent of Comcast's 3,000 U.S.-based partners. A record number of solution providers are taking Comcast's voice, Internet and data services to market as business cable offerings increasingly become the preferred network connection.

20. Rodolpho Cardenuto

President, Global Partner Operations


Since stepping into his current role in May 2014, Rodolpho Cardenuto has helped create a new channel organization that brought SAP’s existing channel team and OEM business together. Half of SAP's top partners are already reselling cloud solutions, and SAP aims to increase cloud revenue to $3.5 billion by 2017 through broader partner coverage and enhanced development of cloud offerings.

19. Marc Dupaquier

General Manager, Global Business Partners


Marc Dupaquier introduced a new channel operations strategy at IBM in February that more tightly aligns SoftLayer, Watson, security, mobile, systems, services and analytics into a unified channel team. Dupaquier has also been heavily involved with IBM's Business Transformation Initiative, a program that helps partners move profitably into cloud, big data analytics, mobile, social and security.

18. Herve Tardy

Vice President, General Manager, Distributed Power Quality Division


Herve Tardy has built a power management channel strategy from the ground up since joining Eaton seven years ago, recently expanding the vendor's virtualization and converged infrastructure market segments. Those efforts have paid off, with Eaton increasing market share by 180 base points, and growing both sales through distribution and average revenue per partner by 30 percent.

17. Phil Sorgen

Corporate Vice President, Worldwide Partner Group


Phil Sorgen helped Microsoft launch its Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program to give partners complete control over provisioning, billing, managing and supporting customer cloud subscriptions. Sorgen also helped bring open licensing to Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, and created cloud competencies oriented around platforms, productivity, and small and midmarket solutions.

16. Michael and Dan Schwab


D&H Distributing

Want to learn how to build a world-class small/medium business channel? Forget about chasing a business degree. Take the trip to Harrisburg, Pa., and meet with Michael and Dan Schwab. There simply is no one else that has as much SMB channel sales savvy as this dynamic duo. These two leaders have a big advantage over competitors: a 97-year legacy as a family-run, employee-owned distributor with their dad, Izzy, still active as CEO.

15. Chris Frey

Vice President, General Manger, North America Commercial Business


Chris Frey's role at Lenovo was expanded in January to include enterprise customers as Lenovo seeks to accelerate growth in large commercial accounts. Under Frey, Lenovo has increased its partner satisfaction ratings by 10 percent and increased channel sales resources by 20 percent. The vendor recruited 2,500 new VARs in 2014 and experienced SMB revenue growth of 15 percent.

14. Ron Myers

Vice President, Worldwide Channels

Palo Alto Networks

Ron Myers has helped Palo Alto Networks establish dominance and take deals from long-standing vendors. Under Myers, Palo Alto grew its network security sales by nearly 60 percent in 2014. The company also boosted its application security offerings by acquiring CirroSecure in May. A majority of Palo Alto's top partners have doubled business with the vendor over the past year.

13. Adam Famularo

Vice President, Global Channels, Enterprise Solutions


Adam Famularo has made a strong impression in his first 10 months on the job at Verizon Enterprise Solutions as he introduces traditional VARs to telecom, networking and cloud services. Famularo launched a program in February that allows partners to keep whatever benefits they had with a competitor if they switch to Verizon. The vendor also introduced a public sector channel program in May.

12. Alain Monie


Ingram Micro

Alain Monie led Ingram Micro to grow its sales by 9 percent in 2014 to $46.5 billion. Under Monie, the world's largest distributor has invested heavily in its Cloud Marketplace, expanding it beyond North America and adding Microsoft Office 365. Monie also helped Ingram Micro ink an agreement with Verizon dealers, boosting the distributor's mobility business by more than 200 percent.

11. Brooks McCorcle

President, Partner Solutions


Brooks McCorcle has grown AT&T's Partner Exchange from infancy, doubling the number of resellers in the program over the past year and boosting midmarket business revenue by more than 80 percent. She helped revamp Partner Exchange in March, enhancing the API platform and adding new investment development funds to accelerate partners' shift to recurring revenue.

10. Craig West

Vice President, Channel Sales


The 12-year NetSuite veteran has built out what may well be the top recurring revenue solution provider network in the business. Under his leadership, the percentage of sales going through partners just keeps getting bigger and bigger. One sign of his solution provider prowess: an increasing number of partners that were selling competitive offerings -- including Net@Work -- have jumped on board the NetSuite bandwagon.

9. Gregg Ambulos

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Channel Sales


Gregg Ambulos has helped EMC transform its channel from a traditional enablement function to a sales-lead role. Under Ambulos' command, EMC launched a business partner program in January and implemented a new program in July that incents partners to sell the complete EMC Federation portfolio. The number of EMC channel partners has grown by 10 percent over the past year.

8. Wendy Bahr

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Partner Organization

Cisco Systems

After leading Cisco's $18 billion Americas Partner Organization since 2012, Wendy Bahr was tapped in July to be the vendor's first female global channel chief. Bahr will lead Cisco's 60,000-partner channel business, which accounts for more than 80 percent of revenue. One of her priorities is finalizing Cisco's new Software Partner Program, which will launch in early 2016.

7. Rob McKernan

Senior Vice President

APC by Schneider Electric

Rob McKernan, one of the great channel advocates, is driving a managed services channel charge at APC that is destined to forever change the power protection solutions landscape. A big plus for APC partners: McKernan is not only overseeing worldwide channels, but also R&D for products sold through partners. Look for an APC channel charge the likes you have never seen before thanks to McKernan's leadership.

6. Jos Brenkel

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales, Printing and Personal Systems Group


One of the all-time great channel diplomats. Under the steady hand of Jos Brenkel, HP's Printing and Personal Systems unit has achieved an unparalleled partner record. The 28-year HP veteran is a master at pressing the right buttons to drive sales and margin growth for partners. Look for his channel leadership to propel big PC and printer share gains in the new HP Inc.

5. Sue Barsamian

Senior Vice President, General Manager


There is simply not a more passionate advocate for enterprise partners than Sue Barsamian. Since taking the worldwide indirect sales job nearly two years ago, she has overseen significant policy changes that have dramatically increased the sales collaboration between solution providers and HP's vast direct sales/channel sales rep force.

4. Cheryl Cook

Vice President, Global Channels, Alliances


Cheryl Cook has helped Dell grow its channel program to more than 40 percent of revenue by increasing the vendor's use of distribution and offering a 20 percent compensation accelerator to sales reps that work closely with channel partners. Under Cook's command, Dell is offering $40,000 in market development funds to help premier and preferred partners grow their business.

3. Maurits Tichelman

General Manager, Worldwide Reseller Channel


Maurits Tichelman has helped Intel launch a new vertical market partner offensive, providing education-focused resellers with vertical-specific marketing and merchant materials. Tichelman, who has been with Intel since 1990, has also spearheaded double-digit growth in the vendor's data center business and made it so that half of Intel's tablet sales go through the channel.

2. Mike Valentine

Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales


Mike Valentine has strengthened Sophos' channel presence through a deal registration program that provides extra margin to the first solution provider to tag a new sales opportunity. Sophos plunged headfirst into cloud and managed services when Valentine joined two years ago, enabling the vendor to stay on top of cutting-edge security trends.

1. Terry Wise

Vice President, Worldwide Partner Ecosystem

Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services started out focusing on developers and startups, and that made it an easy transition for Terry Wise, who'd worked at several startups prior to joining the company in 2008.

"We were a cash-strapped startup that needed to extend our runway and we said, 'Hey, this AWS thing looks really cool technically. But more practically, it's going to help us last longer in the market.' So that was my introduction," Wise, vice president of worldwide partner ecosystem at AWS, told CRN.

Wise was the first channel hire at AWS and now oversees a diverse AWS partner ecosystem that includes technology, consulting and managed service provider partners. "From day one, and continuing today, my world has been all about partners," he said. Early on, Wise said his job involved supporting AWS partners all over the world with a small team. But AWS, now focused on global expansion, has "put very strong teams in all the different geographies," according to Wise.