The 15 Biggest Channel Executive Moves Of 2018 (So Far)

Shakeups At SP 500 Powerhouses

The first half of 2018 saw major leadership changes at five Solution Provider 500 powerhouses, including Accenture and Tyler Technologies.

There were also big personnel moves within the channel ranks at major vendors, including VMware, McAfee, HPE, Google and Salesforce. Finally, a few big distributors in the channel had a few changes of the guard, as well.

What follows is a look at the 15 most consequential executive moves in the channel so far in 2018.

(For more on the biggest news of 2018, check out "CRN's Tech Midyear In Review.")

15. Robert Ochoa

Apple hired the six-year Oracle channel veteran to oversee channel sales for several large solutions providers in its West U.S. region, including Zones, PCM and Insight. The move comes amid Apple's push for continued enterprise business growth.

Ochoa, who more than doubled the size of the Oracle channel business in the West, was also a national partner business manager for Hewlett Packard, dealing with large companies such as PCM and Zones.

According to LinkedIn job postings seen in mid-March, Apple is also looking to hire a Senior Financial Analyst, Worldwide Channel Terms and a Senior Business Analyst, Worldwide Channel Sales.

14. Ross Brown

Ross Brown stepped down as VMware's channel chief early in the year, sources confirmed to CRN in February. Brown's LinkedIn page currently indicates that he is on sabbatical until September.

Brown's departure came just six months after VMware promoted Brandon Sweeney to senior vice president of worldwide sales and operations. Brown was simultaneously moved into a role focused on cloud, the Internet of Things and other emerging technologies.

Brown, who had been reporting to VMware Chief Operating Officer of Customer Operations Sanjay Poonen, first joined VMware in August 2015 to oversee its channel program. His previous experience includes a channel leadership positions held at Microsoft, Citrix and IBM.

13. Kirk Robinson

Kirk Robinson, a 25-year Ingram Micro veteran who oversees all of its U.S. sales, vendor management and marketing operations, was promoted to Chief Country Executive for the U.S. in January. The new position adds U.S. strategy, operations and business execution to his list of responsibilities at the IT distribution giant.

"This role includes everything across the technology life cycle and value chain that we have to offer in the U.S.," Robinson told CRN.

Paul Bay, executive vice president and group president of the Americas, continues to serve as Robinson's direct superior. Robinson took over many of Bay's previous duties when he was promoted to senior vice president in the company's commercial markets and global sales group in August 2016.

12. Richard Steranka

McAfee global channel chief Richard Steranka was among roughly a dozen executive laid off as part of a broader set of layoffs that happened over the summer.

Steranka joined the Santa Clara, Calif.-based vendor from Avaya in August 2015 as head of global channel sales and operations and helped spearhead an increase in incentives for Platinum-level partners as well as the buildout of a managed security service partner program.

Steranka's departure came 15 months after TPG Capital spun out McAfee from Intel in a $4.2 billion deal, and 11 months after a round of layoffs that impacted McAfee's channel unit as well as other areas of the company. Longtime McAfee leader and Americas channel chief Ken McCray remains with the company.

11. Kevin Murai

Kevin Murai, the longtime president and CEO of Synnex, stepped down in January to become the distributor's chairman of the board. Taking over for Murai is Dennis Polk, who has been serving as Synnex's chief operating officer.

Murai presided over significant changes at Synnex and in the distribution business during his decade with the company. He notably spearheaded Synnex's $830 million acquisition of Westcon Americas, which added about $10 billion to Synnex's total addressable market.

Polk started with Synnex in early 2002 as senior vice president of corporate finance, and later that year became the distributor's chief financial officer. He became the chief operating officer in 2006. He has been on Synnex's board of directors since 2012.

10. Ana Pinczuk

Ana Pinczuk left Hewlett Packard Enterprise in June as the head of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's technology services organization Pointnext.

Pinczuk had led the Pointnext business since joining HPE early last year and has guided partners through the adoption of its GreenLake Flex Capacity offering. Earlier this year, Pinczuk oversaw Pointnext's planned acquisition of British Azure cloud consulting provider RedPixie.

Pinczuk left HPE "for new opportunities," according to HPE CEO Antonio Neri. Neri credited Pinczuk with pivoting the HPE team to become more "customer-focused, outcome-led and people-driven."

9. Dan Stone

Office Depot announced in May that Dan Stone, president of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company's CompuCom Systems subsidiary, would resign in June.

An Office Depot spokesperson told CRN that Stone left to "pursue other interests" and was replaced as acting president by Greg Hoogerland, an executive who joined CompuCom in 2014 and was most recently the company's chief customer officer.

Stone joined CompuCom in early 2015 as president of the company's End-user Enablement business unit and its Tech-Zone Service Centers after a one -year stint as president of Lenovo Latin America. He was appointed CEO of CompuCom in late 2016, and became president of the company after CompuCom was acquired by Office Depot.

8: H. Lynn Moore Jr.

Tyler Technologies promoted H. Lynn Moore Jr. from president to CEO in May while his predecessor, John S. Marr Jr., moved into the role of executive chairman as part of a leadership transition.

"Lynn has been an important leader for Tyler for 20 years, managing our legal department, mergers and acquisitions, and asset allocations, and has been deeply involved in all important strategic decisions," Marr said. "In recent years, he has worked closely with our operational executives and has become a trusted resource to them on the issues they face today."

Moore joined Tyler, No. 43 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500, in 1998 as general counsel and was promoted to president of the Plano, Texas-based company in 2017 for the first step of the leadership transition.

7. J.C. Collins

Salesforce promoted J.C. Collins in the spring to senior vice president and COO of industries, innovation and partners – a position in which he will be responsible for running Salesforce's channel programs.

Collins took over duties from Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, who shifted to the new position of senior vice president for industries, where she leads the San Francisco-based company's go-to-market efforts organized around seven core verticals.

Before coming to Salesforce in 2013, Collins helped emerging technology companies establish sales and channel strategies as an associate partner at Monitor, a consulting firm later acquired by Deloitte.

6. Anup Ghosh

Accenture hired Ghosh, founder and CEO of anti-virus company Invincea, in June as managing director of the solution provider's 5,800-person security organization.

In his new role at Accenture, No. 2 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500, Ghosh is tasked with fusing together siloed third-party security products and the Ireland-based company's organic threat intelligence capabilities into a single platform supported by the company's own analytics engine.

Ghosh started Invincea in 2009, and grew the company to 25,000 customers and more than three million active users before selling the company to Sophos in February 2017 for $100 million in cash plus $20 million of earn-outs.

5. Carolee Gearhart

Google named Carolee Gearhart, a former GE Digital executive, as its new channel chief in July. According to Gearhart's LinkedIn profile, she is now responsible for Google Cloud Platform, G Suite, and the Chrome channel business globally.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based tech giant's channel chief seat had sat empty for the past ten months since former channel chief Bertrand Yansouni stepped out of that role after only a brief tenure of less than one year.

Prior to her new position with Google, Gearhart served as chief ecosystem and channels officer for GE Digital for a year, and before that, the IT executive was senior vice president of customer success and global channel for Adaptive Insights.

4. Philip Norton

Philip Norton, the visionary leader who transformed ePlus from a leasing company into a billion-dollar consulting powerhouse, announced his plan to retire at the end of July. Norton will continue to serve on the board of directors as executive chairman.

Norton joined ePlus in 1993 – three years after the company started -- when he was named chairman and CEO. At the time, ePlus, No. 34 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500, was a leasing provider and a value-added reseller. Norton took the company public in 1996 and grew it into a provider of complex IT solutions.

In June 2016, Norton rang the opening bell at the Nasdaq to celebrate 20 years trading on the exchange. Later that year he passed the CEO title to Mark Marron, who is also president of the solution provider.

3. Bob Dutkowsky

Tech Data announced in April that Bob Dutkowsky, who has been the company's CEO since 2006, would step down in June and hand the reins to COO Rich Hume.

Hume's rise to CEO has been part of a long-term succession plan, a spokeswoman told CRN. When he joined Tech Data in 2016, he was the company's first-ever COO and the heir apparent to Dutkowsky. When Dutkowsky stepped down, he became the Clearwater, Fla.-based company's executive chairman. Hume, on the other hand, was nominated to join Tech Data's board of directors.

During his two years at Tech Data, Hume, a 30-year-plus IBM veteran, oversaw several major changes in the company, including Tech Data's 2017 $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions. That acquisition gave Tech Data, which at the time was a traditional broadline distributor, access to advanced technology from Avnet, one of the industry's largest value-added distributors.

2. Elizabeth Strohl

Elizabeth Strohl retired in July as CFO of Concord, Calif.-based solution provider Entisys360, the company -- then known as Entisys Solutions -- she co-founded with her husband, George Strohl, in 1988. George Strohl passed away six years later.

Strohl's son, Matt General, currently Entisys360's CTO, was named COO and took over financial operations for the company. Her stepson, Michael Strohl, is CEO of Entisys, No. 183 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500.

Her technology career spanned more than 50 years and included some of the earliest forms of computer coding, pioneering leadership roles at one of the nation's largest banks, and helping to create a company from scratch that continues to grow today.

1. Frank Vitagliano

Frank Vitagliano stepped aside as CEO and president of Computex Technology Solutions in April after leading the managed services and security sales charge at the company, No. 116 on CRN's 2018 Solution Provider 500.

Taking his place is CFO John Schilsky, who was promoted to president and CEO by Computex's board. Schilsky has been with Computex for six years.

"I feel like I have accomplished what I have been asked to do and it is time to turn the reins over to an experienced management team," Vitagliano said. He added that he is going to take several months off before he considers what he plans for his next move.