The Top 25 Channel Sales Leaders Of 2020

As part of CRN‘s Top 100 Executives Of 2020 list, we highlight 25 sales executives leading the channel charge.

The Channel Sales Leaders

There are few executives more passionate about solution providers than the folks who step into the role of channel chief. One of their most sacred duties is to advocate for the value of the channel within their own organizations.

These fearless channel leaders are guiding their partners toward future success and making sure the key role the channel can play in the health and success of tech vendors is fully understood.

As part of CRN‘s Top 100 Executives Of 2020 list, we highlight 25 sales executives leading the channel charge.

25. Laura Padilla
Head of Business Development, Channels
Zoom Video Communications

No stranger to the channel, Padilla jumped into overdrive to help Zoom handle the massive onslaught in new users this year as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Padilla is diligently working to help partners harness the massive selling opportunities around video for remote working use cases.

24. Karl Soderlund

SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Palo Alto Networks

Soderlund has helped Palo Alto Networks push into the systems integrator market, expanding its partnership with NTT Ltd. to offer products that will reduce the time needed to predict, detect and respond to attacks. Soderlund also helped Palo Alto Networks build out a partnership with Accenture that includes a joint set of tools and enablement opportunities as well as an aligned product road map.

23. Gordon Mackintosh

VP, Channels

Juniper Networks

Mackintosh kicked off the year with a brand-new gig: leading the channel and virtual sales for Juniper Networks. Under Mackintosh‘s leadership, new logos for Juniper’s Mist artificial intelligence-powered offerings are up 100 percent year over year for both Mist wired and wireless LAN offerings.

22. Joe Sykora

VP, Global Sales, Channels


Sykora has driven development of Bitdefender’s first-ever Security Operations Center to help protect MSPs and customers from the most pernicious threats while reducing their overhead. Sykora has also tightened Bitdefender’s bond with MSPs by forming relationships with remote monitoring and management providers and distributors, bringing in experienced security leaders, reducing channel conflict and growing profitability.

21. HoJin Kim

VP, Worldwide Channels, North America Sales


Kim revolutionized pricing for MSSPs with a pay-as-you-go model for SonicWall’s software products that delivers a cost savings of 20 percent over buying an annual license. The flexible pricing developed by Kim will be less than $2 per user, per month in some situations and is helping many MSSPs alleviate the cash-flow issues they had experienced when purchasing annual licenses from SonicWall.

20. Jon Bove

VP, Channel Sales


Bove architected Fortinet’s new Engage Partner Program to supercharge investment in emerging technologies through specializations focused on fast-growing areas like SD-WAN and cloud. He designed the program to deliver support that meets partners’ needs regardless of if they’re a traditional on-premises integrator, a consumption-focused marketplace partner or a services-driven MSSP.

19. Craig Schlagbaum

SVP, Indirect Sales


Comcast has always had success selling its core connectivity offering, but under Schlagbaum’s leadership the cable giant‘s business unit has been helping partners become even more valuable to their customers through virtualized network-bolstering services, such as SD-WAN, through the Comcast ActiveCore platform.

18. Ken McCray

Head of Channel Sales, Operations, Americas


McCray spearheaded a new training and enablement program for partners that’s tightly aligned with McAfee‘s bets around emerging technologies such as MVision Cloud, MVision EDR and MVision Insight. McCray has also championed the development of programs, processes and financial models that will allow McAfee to cultivate a dedicated cadre of MSPs across the U.S. and Latin America.

17. Christian Alvarez

SVP, Worldwide Channel Sales


Alvarez has spearheaded Nutanix’s channel sales charge around COVID-19-related opportunities this year by providing new programs and financing for partners around virtual desktop infrastructure. His efforts have led to a recent surge in new partner signups.

16. Shannon Sbar

VP, Channels, North America

APC by Schneider Electric

With more than 20 years’ worth of channel experience, Sbar has elevated APC by Schneider Electric’s partner business for years by consistently shifting to meet emerging channel needs, creating new strategic relationships and boosting customer satisfaction.

15. Chris Lamborn

Head, Global Partner Go To Market, Programs


Lamborn knows NetApp‘s future depends in large part on moving its channel partners to taking a cloud-first approach to storage while balancing it with a strong on-premises infrastructure play. Few if any channel executives have proven as adept to the task as he has.

14 .Scott Lannum

VP, GM, Commercial Sales Organization

HP Inc.

Lannum has taken the channel reins to continue HP‘s focus on expanding contractual services, such as managed print services and Device as a Service. Lannum’s tenure has included the development of HP’s forthcoming Amplify Partner Program, which will revamp HP’s channel approach for an increasingly digital- and services-focused market.

13. Kevin Rooney

VP, Americas Channel Sales

Veeam Software

Rooney is preparing for a brand-new future at Veam, as the company is moving its headquarters to the U.S. to get closer to the cloud and Microsoft while shifting focus to data management. This makes Rooney and his ability to recruit channel partners key to growth.

12. Frank Rauch

Head of Worldwide Channel Sales

Check Point Software Technologies

Rauch has cut the red tape so Check Point solution providers can pursue high-value customer targets with a secured margin and a predictable deal registration process. Rauch is laser-focused on developing relationships with partners that have C-level access in prominent customer accounts but were historically more focused on selling data center or cloud products than cybersecurity.

11. Sammy Kinlaw

VP, Worldwide Channel, OEM Sales


Channel guru Sammy Kinlaw reinvented Lexmark’s go-to market approach with the launch of its space-saving Go Line and the creation of a custom plan for SMB solution providers—both perfectly timed to meet the demand for work-from-home. Lexmark also extended financing terms for its partners earlier this year to help them meet today’s new challenges.

10. Curtiz Gangi

VP, U.S. Channels


When Eaton partners needed help during the COVID-19 outbreak, Gangi quickly stepped up to the plate by giving them the company’s power management software for free. The software can be deployed and utilized remotely, solving a slew of coronavirus-related use cases to help keep customers afloat.

9. Gavriella Schuster

Corporate VP, One Commercial Partner Organization


Schuster has been a key figure in bringing Microsoft‘s push around cloud and hybrid IT to the company’s massive partner community—helping to position the channel to capture growing recurring revenue opportunities and meet the surge in demand for remote-work solutions.

8. Carolee Gearhart

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales, Global SMB Sales

Google Cloud

Gearhart drives channel growth and innovation for Google Cloud Platform, G Suite and Chrome as channel chief of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program that she helped revamp, rebrand and launch last year.

7. Donna Grothjan

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company

Grothjan is simply one of the smartest and most underrated channel pros in the business, providing the leadership to move the Aruba partner program into the Everything-as-a-Service era with big advances in Aruba’s Partner Ready for MSP Program.

Aruba is one of HPE’s technology crown jewels. And Grothjan is one of the company’s channel crown jewels. Look for her channel knowledge to be a key differentiator for partners moving to capitalize on the fast-growing intelligent edge and emerging 5G opportunities with the Aruba Edge Service Platform and Aruba Central.

6. Rob Cato, Steve Biondi

Channel Chiefs


Cato and Biondi have spearheaded Lenovo‘s channel charge across intelligent devices and data center technologies, respectively, in North America. The channel chiefs are helping to drive Lenovo’s bullish goal of surpassing larger rivals in those markets with a strictly enforced channel-first approach.

5. Jason KimreyGM, U.S. Channel Scale, PartnersIntel

As the U.S. channel chief, Kimrey has helped lead the charge in transitioning partners to a new comprehensive channel program and in creating new financial, informational and programmatic resources to help partners weather the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

4. Kendra Krause
VP, Global Channels

Krause has notched integrations with professional services automation and remote monitoring and management vendors to give Sophos partners a single place to manage their security platform. Managed security services have been the No. 1 ask from customers, and Krause has responded by making it Sophos’ top investment priority from an offering and platform perspective.

3. Doug Yeum
Head of Worldwide Channels, Alliances
Amazon Web Services

Yeum, who launched a partner program for technology startups in his first year as channel chief, has managerial chops from running South Korea for AWS, and a unique, in-depth view into the business from shadowing CEO Andy Jassy as his former technical adviser/chief of staff.

2. Paul Hunter
Worldwide Channel Chief
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Hunter is the channel leader driving what is the biggest on-premises consumption-based cloud model in the business. His steady channel hand continues to drive robust GreenLake pay-as-you-go channel gains. Over the past year, there has been a 47 percent increase in HPE GreenLake orders from partners, with 700 HPE partners now selling the cloud service platform.

Key to the GreenLake model’s success is the 17 percent up-front rebate on GreenLake sales. That’s helping partners fund a transformation to the longer sales cycles that can come with the business-outcome-based GreenLake model.

Among Hunter’s notable contributions are providing workshops aimed at moving partners from transactional sales to more of a strategic business outcome sales model along with continued advances building out the HPE Tech Pro, Sales Pro and Marketing Pro communities.

1. Oliver Tuszik

SVP, Global Partner Organization

Cisco Systems

Seven-year Cisco veteran Tuszik spent more than five years leading Cisco‘s operations in Germany when he was tapped to come to the U.S. to head up Cisco’s global partner organization. As channel chief for the past two years, Tuszik has been encouraging Cisco partners to “find their edge”—a phrase that to him means pushing the boundaries of their expertise to create unique and profitable solutions to help end customers address rapidly changing business requirements. He’s doing that through new programs, incentives and certifications to help partners evolve their own business.

2020 has been a remarkable year for the IT industry, but Tuszik hasn‘t let economic uncertainty get in the way of the channel. He has spent the past five months working with partners to understand “the new normal” and how Cisco partners can embrace and cash in on emerging tech opportunities. Specifically, Tuszik is helping partners zero in on flexible consumption models and turning free trials of Cisco security and collaboration solutions into brand-new revenue streams. Tuszik also worked side-by-side this year with Cisco’s new Business Resiliency Program to extend $2.5 billion in financing to protect businesses and help partners hold onto their cash flow during the COVID-19 pandemic.