The Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders Of 2016

Sales Leaders

With the tech industry transitioning in an increasingly off-premise, mobile world, channel chiefs that understand the value of service-first solution providers are truly reaping the benefits of channel partnerships.

These sales leaders are staying ahead of the curve by rolling out new channel programs and incentives for their existing partners and by adding new solution providers to the stable to conquer new markets.

As part of CRN's The Top 100 Executives Of 2016 list, we highlight 25 channel sales executives that really shine as they work to grow revenue and increase market share with their partners.

If you missed the rest of The Top 100 Executives Of 2016, sure to visit the complete list.

25. Christopher Doggett

SVP, Global Sales


Christopher Doggett is leveraging his strong channel background to steer Carbonite toward a nearly 100 percent channel sales model. Doggett has pulled off this trick once before, helping Sophos transform its business into an exclusively channel-based model. Doggett identifies the channel as the highest-growth area for Carbonite today, and he's doing his part to help partners capitalize on the opportunity.

24. Wayne Newton

Director, Commercial Markets, Americas

Belkin International

Wayne Newton has been managing Belkin's B2B businesses, including its government and education-focused verticals, solution providers, distributors and OEM partners, for nearly three years, but he's not content to rest on his laurels. Aside from pushing Belkin's Linksys products full-bore into the channel, Newton is also focused on uncovering new opportunities for Belkin partners in the Internet of Things through the company's WeMo lineup of smart home/smart office technology.

23. Leslie Bois

VP, Channel Sales, North America

Kaspersky Lab

Leslie Bois is tapping into her channel passion to move Kaspersky Lab upmarket, driving 31 percent growth from midmarket partners and 18 percent growth from enterprise partners through enablement efforts last year. Bois has also expanded Kaspersky's recruitment of MSPs to capitalize on strong interest in managed security services, and has tripled the number of tech certifications held by partners.

22. Bill Swales

Group VP, North America Alliances, Channels


Bill Swales has been laser-focused on pivoting Oracle's partner community to the cloud through lucrative incentives, comprehensive sales and product training, proactive demand generation programs, and a new program aimed at "born in the cloud" partners. Swales also launched a partner-focused SMB segment, and increased public sector partner profitability across the entire hardware portfolio.

21. Dan and Michael Schwab


D&H Distributing

Perennial champions of the SMB channel, Dan and Michael Schwab drove 21 percent business growth for D&H's reseller partners thanks to skyrocketing server and desktops sales and a doubling of K-12 focused staff. But the Schwab brothers aren't resting, as they've launched a pre-sales support program for partners and a program teaching VARs how to build more modern, attractive and technologically flexible office environments.

20. John Corley

President, Channel Partner Operations


A Xerox veteran, John Corley was tapped as channel chief about two years ago with the mission to make a harder push into the channel. He continues to steer the ship as the company splits into two distinct units, a services-focused business and a printer, or document technology, business. As channel chief, Corley is poised to help partners get their piece of the pie selling solutions as part of Xerox's rapidly evolving $11 billion document tech business.

19. Gregg Ambulos

SVP, Global Channel Sales


When you've been managing channels for the same vendor for 15 years, you're not just doing something right, you're a leader in the industry. In his push to drive EMC's channel business and help it adapt to changing markets, Gregg Ambulos rolled out a variety of changes to EMC's program earlier this year, helping make it more profitable and easier to navigate. His efforts haven't gone unnoticed, and it appears he'll also have a significant role in the combined Dell-EMC.

18. Craig Schlagbaum

VP, Indirect Channels

Comcast Business

A staunch advocate for bringing telecom services to market through solution providers, Craig Schlagbaum has been served as channel chief at Comcast for as long as the company has had a channel program. He created and built the Comcast Business Solutions Provider Program from the ground up in 2011. Since then, Schlagbaum hasn't slowed down. With more than 3,000 solution providers selling Comcast solutions today, the IT and channel veteran has been busy this year introducing Comcast partners to new, strategic services, such as cloud and fiber-based products.

17. Sammy Kinlaw

Executive Director, North America Channel Chief


With the acquisition of IBM's x86 server business firmly under Lenovo's belt, Sammy Kinlaw is accelerating the company's channel charge with aggressive pricing and incentives designed to bring partners deeper into the most lucrative deals. Hot on the heels of introducing increased incentives for partners that sell servers, Kinlaw in June rolled out Lenovo's Partner Sold Partner Delivered program designed to boost profitability for partners that sell the gear and offer maintenance and warranty services.

16. Matthew Harrell

Head of Partner Business, Americas


Part-time venture capitalist Matthew Harrell, a former sales executive responsible for Google's enterprise cloud products, is now a key force shaping the Alphabet subsidiary's emerging -- and disruptive -- channel program, developing a go-to-market strategy that leans on solution providers as part of a broad partner ecosystem.

15. Janet Schijns

VP, Global Channels

Verizon Enterprise Solution s

As Verizon's new channel chief, Janet Schijns is now in the driver's seat when it comes to guiding the company's channel strategy. Since moving into the role in April, the 6-year Verizon veteran has focused on doubling the carrier's indirect sales numbers, developing its digital business, and fiercely advocating for women in IT.

14. John Thompson

Global VP of Partner and Channel Sales


As Symantec navigates its $4.65 billion acquisition of Blue Coat Systems and the CEO change that will come with it, solution providers are looking to John Thompson as the steady hand that will steer the Symantec channel ship toward growth. With the vastly expanded portfolio the combined company will bring to market, Thompson sees broader solutions and big cross-selling opportunities on the horizon.

13. Pete Peterson

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales


As Brocade works to integrate Ruckus Wireless into its fold after closing that acquisition in May, Pete Peterson is laser-focused on ensuring that Brocade's channel partners see zero disruptions. While the companies' partner programs are operating separately for now, Peterson sees big cross-over opportunities for Brocade partners that want to dig into the Ruckus portfolio, and vice versa.

12. Craig West

VP, Channel Sales


NetSuite's channel structure is evolving with its product portfolio, and channel chief Craig West is orchestrating the ambitious transformation of the Software-as-a-Service vendor's program. A new initiative, called Partner Altitude, aims to modernize how NetSuite partners are evaluated and rewarded by implementing a data-driven scoring system for assessing channel practices across several criteria, and recognizing partners that are maturing their practices. With Oracle's move to buy NetSuite for $9.3 billion, West will be a big fish in an even bigger pond.

11. Marc Dupaquier

GM, Global Business Partners


As IBM moves forward with an epic business transformation, Marc Dupaquier is taking the lead on keeping partners informed, engaged and enthusiastic for the ride. IBM's channel chief makes an art out of juggling the needs of legacy resellers while convincing them to embark on transformations of their practices in line with IBM's ambitious strategy around cloud and cognitive computing.

10. John Byrne

Global VP, Sales Strategy, Operations, Channels


When Dell and EMC officially join to become Dell technologies, it's John Byrne who will lead the critical effort of integrating two disparate channel programs. The tasks ahead of him are tall, indeed. He'll be changing the way Dell and EMC sales teams are incentivized in order to minimize conflict, and getting partners that don't already work with both firms to begin selling the entire Dell-EMC portfolio.

9. Maurits Tichelman

GM, Worldwide Reseller Channel


Maurits Tichelman, who has worked at Intel for almost 30 years, has helped lead the charge in growing the channel business in the data center and Internet of Things space as the vendor transforms to focus more heavily on those segments. Under Tichelman's lead, Intel also has spent the past year spotlighting vertical market opportunities for channel partners as the company dives deeper into IoT.

8. Thomas Jensen

VP, Head of Worldwide Channel Sales Strategy

HP Inc.

When HP Inc. needed its own channel program after the company was formed in the split of HP into two companies, Jensen answered the call with Partner First, which is targeted at getting partners to focus on selling solutions, not products. Jensen also oversaw the introduction of programs for systems integrators and alliance partners.

7. Bill Lipsin

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales


Bill Lipsin joined NetApp just more than a year ago, but since then he has shown a take-charge attitude with the vendor's channel. Under Lipsin's lead, NetApp this year introduced its first rules of engagement to protect partners in deals and is now working on consolidating the channel programs of NetApp and its SolidFire acquisition.

6. Gavriella Schuster

VP, Worldwide Partner Group


Microsoft's newly minted global channel chief is taking the reins of the world's largest software channel at a time of major transition. Gavriella Schuster, a 21-year Microsoft veteran, must now guide tens of thousands of partners as they shift to a cloud solutions business model. If that weren't enough, there's that Windows 10 upgrade cycle.

5. Scott Dunsire

VP, GM, Enterprise America Channels, SMB And Inside Sales

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Someone deserves a bonus for moving Scott Dunsire from managing HP's Printing and Personal Systems channel to managing HPE's enterprise channels. His team, working with partners, has not only made HPE the only top IT vendor to see both storage and server sales growth over past year, but the only one to see growth in either business.

4. Rob McKernan

SVP, Global IT Channels

APC By Schneider Electric

Rob McKernan exemplifies the catchphrase "experience counts." He has been driving channel partnerships at APC for 10 years, and this year expanded partner opportunities with a new program integrating APC's Smart-UPS power management and monitoring into managed services platforms to address an installed base of up to 3 million APC Smart-UPS devices.

3. Mike Valentine

SVP, Worldwide Sales


How do you drive a 30 percent increase in the number of active North American channel partners year over year? If you're Mike Valentine, you do it by backing up a strategic recruiting effort with a pervasive channel-focused culture that recognizes the value of aligning your sales team with your channel partners, all the while working to boost recurring revenue opportunities and partner profitability for your channel.

2. Wendy Bahr

SVP, Global Partner Organization

Cisco Systems

A channel veteran who worked closely with Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins during his days as the head of Cisco's U.S. channel, Wendy Bahr has been traveling the globe to help foster tight ties with Cisco's 70,000 channel partners since becoming its global channel chief last year. Driving simplification and alignment throughout the channel organization has been her mantra since stepping into the role, and she's pushed ahead with plans to combine Cisco's product and services channel program teams, while streamlining the program itself.

1. Curtiz Gangi

VP, U.S. Channels, Data Center Segment


The hardware-heavy power management business can seem boring sometimes given its mature technology and its position buried deep inside the data center. But Eaton's Curiz Gangi helped make it exciting this year with the launch of the company's Intelligent Power Manager software that's designed to help drive software, services and recurring revenue for midmarket data-center-focused partners. The software launch came with the simultaneous launch of new tools and training to help partners perform customer assessments and make recommendations, and to turn those capabilities into a professional service they can take to customers.

For Eaton, software and services represents a brave new world, but Gangi and his team recognized the changing nature of customer requirements and in response rolled out a strong program aimed at bringing on channel partners and rewarding them well for their support. Gangi has told CRN the program can turn a $1,500 midmarket data center closet hardware sale into $9,000 in additional revenue for partners. This includes $6,750 in software licenses, installation and consulting services, including integration with VMware and Microsoft infrastructures or providing management links to hyper-converged infrastructure or other modern solutions. Partners could also see $2,150 in annual recurring revenue related to power management monitoring and business risk avoidance.