The 15 Blockbuster IT Executive Moves Of 2016 (So Far)

A Fresh Start

Many key vendors suffered some major brain drain in the first half of 2016, with Cisco, FireEye, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Microsoft, Salesforce, VMware and Xerox losing vital members of their leadership teams.

Other companies fared better in the executive musical chairs, with Citrix, IBM and Symantec hiring new leaders from the outside their organizations. Amazon Web Services, EMC, Intel and Lenovo also benefited from promotions in their leadership teams during the first six months of the year.

Read on to relive the key IT executive happenings so far in 2016.

(For more on the "coolest" of 2016, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

Kevin Turner

Microsoft Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, who heads the company's partner channel and worldwide sales, will leave at the end of July to become CEO of Citadel Securities, a division of Citadel LLC. Microsoft does not plan to hire a single replacement for Turner; instead, his responsibilities will be divided among five executives, a move that partners said would make Microsoft more "laser-focused" on various segments across the channel. The executive shakeup puts North American President Judson Althoff -- a former Oracle channel chief who joined Microsoft three years ago -- into a new role overseeing the worldwide commercial business. Many Microsoft partners cheered the change, telling CRN that Turner's cost-cutting ways have made it more difficult to work with the vendor.

Greg Clark

Symantec said in June that it had named Greg Clark as incoming CEO, replacing current CEO Michael Brown, who said in April that he planned to step down. Clark comes to Mountain View, Calif.-based Symantec as part of the security vendor's blockbuster June acquisition of Blue Coat Systems, where he was CEO. Clark has been CEO of Blue Coat since 2011, his most recent position in a long career in software and security leadership roles. Since taking the job, he helped lead the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company through a period of turnaround, which included taking it private through a private equity acquisition and making multiple key acquisitions to plant its stake in the cloud security market.

Amit Singh

Amit Singh said in May that he would be leaving his role as president of Google for Work, taking a role as vice president overseeing the company's virtual reality team. In that role, he is responsible for the business and operations of a unit that's developing headset devices, like the Google Cardboard viewer. Since joining Google in March 2010, Singh was instrumental in shaping the Mountain View, Calif.-based company's channel structure. Some partners speculated that the move meant Google for Work was preparing for the next stage of growth.

Ursula Burns

After announcing a company split earlier this year, Xerox had more big news in May with the news that CEO Ursula Burns would be stepping down. She will not be assuming the CEO role at either company, but will remain as chairman of the board of the $11 billion document technology business. The following month, Xerox named Jeff Jacobson -- who has led Xerox's Technology Division since 2012 -- as the future CEO of the product side of the business. Xerox also said Ashok Vemuri – who served as president and CEO of iGate from September 2013 to October 2015 – had been tapped to lead the company's $7 billion services business, which will be called Conduent.

Jonathan Chadwick

When VMware reported earnings in late January, it also revealed that Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Chadwick would be leaving the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. Chadwick had been with the vendor since 2012, with VMware saying in January that Chadwick was looking to expand his advisory roles, working with a number of companies as a non-executive board member. Chadwick has since become a board member at Cognizant, No. 7 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, as well as endpoint security and systems management company Tanium. Chadwick will be replaced at VMware by Zane Rowe, who had been EMC's chief financial officer since October 2014.

Dave DeWalt

One of the biggest moves of the year came in May, with the news that FireEye's Dave DeWalt would be stepping down after more than four years as CEO. DeWalt began serving as the Milpitas, Calif.-based company's executive chairman June 15, with company president Kevin Mandia assuming the CEO role. Mandia joined FireEye as part of the company's 2014 acquisition of Mandiant, where he was founder and CEO. In a May interview with CRN, DeWalt said the leadership change will allow FireEye to take a "fresh look at things" and continue accelerating its security strategy. He said he plans to stay very involved with the company's sales and strategy going forward as executive chairman.

Chad Sakac

Chad Sakac was selected in January to be the new president of VCE, according to the Richardson, Texas-based division of EMC. Partners praised the move by EMC and VCE, now the EMC Converged Platforms Division, saying that Sakac is a "partner-friendly" executive and that he will "bring incredible structure and order to all the current VCE processes." Sakac takes on the new role in addition to being EMC's president of global systems engineering, a position he's held for three years. Sakac replaced Praveen Akkiraju, who had run VCE since 2012. Akkiraju will remain with EMC as an adviser to President of EMC Information Infrastructure David Goulden.

Andy Jassy

At the beginning of April, Amazon said Amazon Web Services Senior Vice President Andy Jassy has been promoted to CEO of the company's public cloud infrastructure business. The promotion comes on the heels of astronomical cloud growth for the Seattle-based company. Jassy founded AWS in 2003 with a team of 57 people and has led the business since, growing it to more than 1 million customers and getting it on track to hit $10 billion in sales this fiscal year. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a blog post that the appointment wasn't a reorganization, but rather a "recognition" of the role that Jassy has held so far in the company.

Emilio Ghilardi

In the latest iteration in a series of management shuffles at Lenovo, the company, based in Beijing and Morrisville, N.C., named Emilio Ghilardi as president of Lenovo North America. He replaced Aymar de Lencquesaing, who took the role a little more than a year ago in another management overhaul. De Lencquesaing will now serve as chairman and president of Motorola Mobility and co-president of Lenovo's mobile division. Ghilardi joined Lenovo last July as vice president and chief operating officer, overseeing the company's PC and enterprise businesses. In a statement, Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanqing said the departures and reassignments are intended to "accelerate our transformation into a customer-centric company.’

Kirill Tatarinov

Citrix Systems named a new CEO in January, ending a six-month search with the appointment of former Microsoft executive Kirill Tatarinov to the role. Tatarinov left Microsoft in June 2015 after 13 years, where he most recently served as executive vice president of the Business Solutions division. Tatarinov officially started at the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company on Jan. 25. He replaces longtime CEO Mark Templeton, who announced his retirement in July. Partners were skeptical of the appointment, saying Tatarinov was a "safe choice," but more of a business manager than a visionary leader.

Martin Fink

As part of a major sales and marketing restructuring at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Chief Technology Officer Martin Fink is set to step aside at the end of the year. The restructuring was part of a push by CEO Meg Whitman to drive better sales and marketing opportunities and execution, she said in a June blog post. Fink had been with HP for more than 30 years, serving as CTO and director of Hewlett Packard Labs since 2012. Over his long tenure with the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, Fink was responsible for overseeing the business-critical systems group, the HP-UX Kernel Lab and HP OpenView Telecom.

Diane Bryant

As part of its push to emphasize its data center and cloud business, Intel in April said it is promoting Diane Bryant to executive vice president of the Data Center Group. Bryant had previously been general manager of the group, responsible for managing data center strategy, product development for enterprise, cloud service providers and high-performing computing infrastructure. Intel CEO Bryan Krzanich said in a statement that the move "reflects the significance of the cloud to Intel's strategy as we transform the business," praising Bryant's track record of adding value and growing the company's data center business to $16 billion of sales in 2015. The promotion was the latest sign that the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company was ramping up investment in data center, cloud and the Internet of Things.

Nick Earle

Cisco lost a key executive in its cloud business in May, with the departure of Senior Vice President of Global Cloud and Managed Services Sales Nick Earle. Earle was seen as a "founding father" of the company's cloud strategy, including the channel program and Cisco Intercloud "cloud of clouds" strategy. In a LinkedIn post about his departure, Earle said he was planning to take a role at a startup, but had "no hard plans yet." He will officially depart his role in a few months, he said. Earle's departure comes at a time of significant change for Cisco, as new CEO Chuck Robbins restructures the company's engineering team, adds new leadership and shakes up the company's cloud strategy.

Tod Nielsen

In the latest of a series of Salesforce executive departures, the San Francisco-based CRM vendor in February lost its executive vice president of platform. Tod Nielsen left the company to "pursue other opportunities," Salesforce told CRN at the time. Nielsen joined Salesforce in 2010 as part of its acquisition of Heroku. From 2009 to 2013, he was co-president of VMware. At Salesforce, Nielsen was most recently leading the integration of the company's three development platforms: Heroku, and Lightning. Nielsen's exit comes a couple of weeks after the promotion of Keith Block to chief operating officer. Block had become a right-hand man to CEO Marc Benioff, who credited him for helping Salesforce "get to next level of enterprise execution."

Ed Walsh

IBM appointed new leadership for its storage division at the end of June, appointing former IBM storage head Ed Walsh as general manager, effective July 11. His appointment came at an important time for IBM storage, which has seen dropping sales in recent quarters. Walsh returned to Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM from Catalogic Software, where he served as CEO from July 2014 to July 2016. He has also held storage CEO roles at Storwize (acquired by IBM in 2010), Virtual Iron and Avamar. He will take over for Greg Lotko, who has been serving as the interim general manager of IBM storage. Lotko will continue in his role as vice president of development for IBM storage.