The Top 25 Disrupters Of 2018

The Disrupters

Going by the book and sticking to norms won't cut it in the ever-changing IT landscape. Companies need to find not only new ways to solve customers' problems but also find ways to solve problems customers didn't even know they had. And they need to have executives who aren't afraid to push the envelope.

These are the Top 25 Disrupters from CRN's Top 100 Executives of 2018, the executives that are revolutionizing the industry by challenging the status quo.

Be sure to also visit the complete list of Top 100 Executives Of 2018.

25. Rich Fennessy


Kudelski Security

Rich Fennessy has been shaking up the managed security services space with the introduction of Secure Blueprint, the industry’s first cyberbusiness management platform that allows CISOs to balance complex security needs with business priorities and communicate easily to their boards.

24. Peter Bauer



Under Peter Bauer’s leadership, Mimecast has doubled down on the channel with its first tiered global partner program, which gives partners clear steps for receiving more support. The company also is planning to introduce a program for pure-play managed service providers.

23. Chris Young



After spinning McAfee out of Intel last year and making it independent again, Chris Young is acquisition-hungry, having already acquired two companies post-spinout. With $2.6 billion in annual revenue and profitability, Young has not ruled out going public to keep growing the cybersecurity beast.

22. Bob Muglia


Snowflake Computing

In six years, Bob Muglia has convinced investors to pump $473 million into Snowflake Computing as the cloud data-warehouse-as-a-service provider tripled its customers in the past 12 months. Muglia plans to take on data warehouse incumbents with a service that is less expensive and more agile.

21. Matthew Moynahan



Formed through a series of acquisitions over the past year and a half, Forcepoint has made a name for itself as a human-centric cybersecurity company, due to the leadership of Matthew Moynahan, who has continued to pursue deals to make it an even larger player in the cloud access security broker space.

20. Amir Haleem

Co-Founder, CEO


Amir Haleem has a bold idea with his startup Helium on how to build out a global Internet of Things network: incentivize anyone to adopt its gateways by offering them cryptocurrency. The startup’s crypto-mining gateways come out later this year.

19. Jeff Ready


Scale Computing

With Jeff Ready at the helm, Scale Computing has become a formidable player in the hyper-converged infrastructure space. With more than 2,500 customers, the company has been ramping up partnerships, most recently with Ingram Micro, and luring midmarket customers.

18. Sheng Liang

Co-Founder, CEO

Rancher Labs

Sheng Liang has built Rancher Labs into a prominent player in the Docker ecosystem with an open-source management platform that now enables more than 5,000 organizations, including IBM and Dish Networks, to easily scale deployments of container clusters.

17. Kelly Ahuja


Versa Networks

After nearly two decades at Cisco, Kelly Ahuja has been blazing a new trail as the CEO of SD-WAN startup Versa Networks, which has more than 150,000 global contract licenses and more than 50 service providers as customers, including Verizon and Comcast Business.

16. Giovanni Coglitore

Founder, CEO


Former Sony CTO Giovanni Coglitore has a game-changing solution for enabling a true multi-cloud experience with his Cisco-backed startup, RStor. With an overlay fabric that spans multiple kinds of environments, RStor says it can even enable enterprises to access supercomputing centers.

15. Alexis Richardson

Founder, CEO


Led by Alexis Richardson, Weaveworks has been shaking up the container and microservices space with the Weave Cloud management platform, which culls several open-source technologies to deliver a SaaS solution for deploying and managing complex container workloads.

14. David Goeckeler

EVP, GM, Networking, Security Business

Cisco Systems

With AppDynamics and Cisco’s Internet of Things unit now under the company’s Networking and Security Business, David Goeckeler’s purview as the division’s leader has expanded significantly, making him responsible for more than $32 billion in business.

13. Zee Hussain

Channel Chief, SVP, AT&T Partner Solutions, AT&T Business


After coming in as AT&T’s new channel chief last year, Zee Hussain has helped reimagine the company’s channel efforts by bringing three separate channel programs under one roof to make it quicker and easier for solution providers to work with AT&T.

12. Stephen Nigro

President, 3-D Printing

HP Inc.

As the head of HP’s 3-D Printing business, Stephen Nigro has been disrupting the manufacturing industry with a new way of creating final parts using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion printers. As business has started to take off, Nigro has also led the launch of new prototyping and metal printers.

11. Austin McChord



Austin McChord is shaking up the managed services provider platform business after Datto made two transformational moves last year—acquiring Open-Mesh and merging with Autotask—to become one of the largest MSP-centric technology providers in the world.

10. John Street



As managed service providers flock to cloud distributor Pax8, John Street has become a champion of creating more cross-sell and upsell opportunities for MSPs, most recently with the launch of the company’s business intelligence tool, Pax8 Stax.

9. Kumar Ramachandran

Founder, CEO


Kumar Ramachandran has thrived in the face of Cisco and other large SD-WAN competitors, with CloudGenix reporting 300 percent growth in annual sales last year thanks in large part to Fortune 500 companies that are eager for something new.

8. Prashant Gandhi

VP, Product Management, Chief Product Officer

Big Switch Networks

After selling a startup to Cisco and helping lead the company’s data center efforts, Prashant Gandhi moved to networking startup Big Switch Networks to architect its strategic pivot that has propelled the company into the mainstream.

7. Sanjay Uppal

VP, GM, VeloCloud Business Unit


A pioneer of SD-WAN, Sanjay Uppal significantly changed the networking landscape with VeloCloud and continues to do so after VMware acquired his company last year. With integration now a chief focus, Uppal is driving VeloCloud to grow faster than ever before.

6. Ric Lewis

SVP, GM, Software-Defined and Cloud Group

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Ric Lewis has led the charge on what many consider the market-leading software-defined platform for the hybrid IT era. The master cloud strategist has integrated SimpliVity, Nimble and now Plexxi into a cohesive edge to core to cloud platform.

5. Jed Ayres

President, CEO, North America, Global CMO


While growing IGEL into the third largest thin-client provider in the U.S, Jed Ayres found a way to stay ahead of the competition by transforming the company into a disrupter in the endpoint management space.

4. Michael Gold



Since joining Intermedia in 2011, Michael Gold has ushered the company through a successful change in ownership and expanded its unified cloud communications offerings for partners, most recently through its acquisition of AnyMeeting.

3. Anthony Lye

SVP, GM, Cloud Data Services Business Unit


After joining NetApp last year, Anthony Lye has become the leader of the company’s recently established cloud business unit, where he is helping NetApp become a frontrunner in seamlessly managing businesses across on-premises and public clouds.

2. Phil Davis

President, Hybrid IT

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

A fierce partner advocate, Phil Davis has doubled down on channel compensation focused on the lucrative Super Six growth opportunities: Everything-as-a-Service, intelligent edge, software-defined, all-flash storage, blades plus and Gen10 server transition.

1. Keerti Melkote

President, Intelligent Edge Business Unit

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Technology visionary Keerti Melkote called the mobile- and cloud- first wireless networking paradigm shift well before anyone else and proceeded to disrupt onetime market leader Cisco in the intelligent edge market battle.

Now the Aruba co-founder and superstar engineer, who holds several patents, is aiming to shake up the SD-WAN market with the same kind of breakthrough software that he put to good use in the networking market. This time, the focus is on bringing the power of artificial intelligence and proven security software to the SD-WAN branch market to capitalize on a $7 billion market opportunity.

If you need further proof of just what kind of impact Melkote is having on HPE, look at the robust growth from the intelligent business unit he heads—now a $1-billion-plus business with sales growth of 17 percent in the most recent quarter.