The Top 25 Innovators Of 2018

The Innovators

The speed of innovation in enterprise IT moves at a breakneck pace. Executives that think outside the box are vital for companies to remain ahead of the competition.

As part of CRN's Top 100 Executives Of 2018 list, here are the 25 Most Innovative Executives, those who recognize today's biggest business challenges and find the most creative ways to solve them.

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

25. David Flynn

President, CEO

Aerohive Networks

David Flynn has led Aerohive Networks, a specialist in wireless and wired networking technologies, into new areas including the red-hot market for SDWAN. Aerohive's SD-WAN offering is designed to deliver simplicity, performance and optimization that competitors can't match.

24. Damon Ennis

SVP, Products

Silver Peak

Damon Ennis has been helping steer Silver Peak to work with the channel on migrating legacy router infrastructure to SD-WAN. Silver Peak improves SD-WAN deployments by putting all functions on a single device—advanced SD-WAN capabilities, routing, security and integrated WAN optimization.

23. Rami Rahim


Juniper Networks

Rami Rahim has been working to break new ground with the networking hardware and software businesses at Juniper Networks, particularly in the area of cloud. Under Rahim's leadership, Juniper now can enable customers to operate in a similar fashion to the major cloud providers.

22. Paul Mountford



Paul Mountford, a networking industry veteran who became Riverbed's CEO in April, looks to create a software-defined powerhouse that stands apart with its expertise on the application layer. He also aims to capitalize on moves such as the jump into SD-WAN with the 2017 acquisition of Xirrus.

21. Ian Whiting


Ruckus Networks, an Arris Company

Ian Whiting, the recently appointed president of Ruckus Networks, is focused on igniting growth with the help of channel partners. His plan is to fuel that growth by doubling down on emerging technologies such as IoT, next-generation Wi-Fi and the intelligent edge.

20. Ed Meyercord

President, CEO

Extreme Networks

After bringing together networking technology acquired from Avaya, Brocade and Zebra into a broad product portfolio, which also includes Extreme's own innovations, Ed Meyercord is pushing the company ahead into new technology areas such as intelligent edge, automation and cloud.

19. Satin Mirchandani



Satin Mirchandani is piloting FireMon into new areas in network security, such as by working to extend security to on-premises and cloud assets that were previously unknown—ensuring the right security measures are in place in an automated way while utilizing existing infrastructure.

18. Mike Potts

President, CEO


Since taking over as CEO of Webroot in September, Mike Potts has focused on building an MSP partner program and expanding its cloud-based security portfolio. One key area for Potts is working with technology partners to embed Webroot's comprehensive threat intelligence solutions within their products.

17. Otto Berkes


CA Technologies

Otto Berkes is leading CA's charge to become a force in software with an innovative approach aimed at addressing business needs with speed. He has focused on CA's Advanced Analytics, which uses AI to harness data from applications and then uses the data to improve application performance.

16. Brian Householder


Hitachi Vantara

Since the creation of Hitachi Vantara in September, Brian Householder has worked to capitalize on the company's launch of new offerings—including fully managed private and hybrid cloud solutions, enhancements to its hyper-converged systems and new machine-learning orchestration tools.

15. Milan Shetti

GM, Storage

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Milan Shetti is stepping up HPE's march to create the autonomous data center by bringing InfoSight predic tive analytics software—gained through last year's acquisition of Nimble—to the SimpliVity, ProLiant, Synergy and GreenLake lines.

14. Mark Thurmond



Mark Thurmond is a key figure driving forward Turbonomic's workload automation for hybrid cloud by providing enhanced enablement to partners. He has been delivering the message that Turbonomic's platform is a significant opportunity for partners to become trusted advisers for customers.

13. Florin Talpes

Founder, CEO


Florin Talpes has stepped up efforts to utilize integrators and cloud infrastructure players to boost the amount of business being created through the channel. Part of his strategy involves capitalizing on Bitdefender's unique agreement to provide native integrated security for Nutanix.

12. Eugene Kaspersky


Kaspersky Lab

Eugene Kaspersky has overseen the Global Transparency Initiative, which includes plans to establish three transparency centers around the globe, relocate its software assembly to Switzerland, and have independent experts review source code that underpins its threat detection rules and more.

11. Steve Singh

Chairman, CEO


Just over a year into his tenure as CEO of container tech pioneer Docker, Steve Singh is aiming to win in the competitive market with Docker's openness and portability -- enabling digital transformation without locking customers into any single provider.

10. James Heppelmann

President, CEO


James Heppelmann has been spearheading PTC's moves in its fast-growing IoT business and in other emerging areas such as augmented reality. PTC's ThingWorx platform enables rapid development of IoT applications, while the company has made a string of AR acquisitions as well.

9. Dheeraj Pandey

Founder, Chairman, CEO


Dheeraj Pandey is keeping the innovation engine roaring at Nutanix, launching three new solutions for channel partners to drive recurring revenue. The recently unveiled solutions include Nutanix Beam, the company's first-ever SaaS offering that provides multi-cloud governance for customers.

8. Arnie Bellini



Arnie Bellini has been steering ConnectWise's effort to help MSPs better run their own businesses, which was underscored by the debut of numerous managed services. They include a new unified console for management of Cisco, AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud environments.

7. Kevin McGibben

President, CEO


Kevin McGibben is presiding over plans for massive channel expansion and technology innovation after Vista Equity Partners acquired a majority stake in the company in April. The investment will allow LogicMonitor to accelerate the addition of new capabilities to its performance monitoring SaaS offering.

6. John Dickey

Co-Founder, President, COO

Talari Networks

John Dickey is helping to steer Talari Networks in its work with channel partners to build reliable, resilient and agile networks through technology such as SD-WAN. Talari's SD-WAN solution aims to stand out with capabilities such as network performance management.

5. David Eun

Chief Innovation Officer

Samsung Electronics

David Eun is heading up efforts to skate where the puck is going, with a focus on emerging technologies that will complement Samsung hardware such as IoT, augmented and virtual reality, AI and blockchain. Eun also oversees strategic investments in startups with promising technologies.

4. Matt Cain

President, CEO


Matt Cain is leading Couchbase's bid to shake up the big data space with its speedy next-generation NoSQL database system, which serves as an alternative to relational databases. In January, Cain oversaw the launch of Couchbase's first channel program.

3. Peter McKay

President, Co-CEO


Peter McKay is presiding over Veeam's move beyond data backup and recovery to become the go-to ’hyper-availability’ vendor focused on hybrid and multi-cloud environments. Veeam is approaching the $1 billion annual revenue mark, and he has his sights on doubling or even tripling that number.

2. Marius Haas

President, Chief Commercial Officer

Dell EMC

Marius Haas is helping lead the charge at Dell EMC to drive growth in areas such as storage with an approach he describes as ’refuse to lose.’ That has included changing internal compensation models to ensure a focus on storage and moving to reduce channel conflict.

1. Jeff Clarke

Vice Chairman, Products, Operations


Since taking the reins of Dell's Infrastructure Solutions Group in September, Jeff Clarke has been driving tenacity and speed in the company's server, networking, storage and PC businesses. Storage is a particular focus for Clarke, who is aiming to expand Dell EMC's $16 billion storage business with a revamped product portfolio.

Under Clarke's plan, Dell EMC has been realigning its engineering teams to focus on four primary storage product lines, and has been bringing together all of its storage intellectual property into a common pool that can be applied to each product as appropriate.

Clarke's moves are streamlining the company's product development and, ultimately, driving accelerated innovation in Dell's infrastructure business.