2019 Channel Chiefs: The 50 Most Influential

The Most Influential

Our 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs of 2019 are an elite group drawn from the larger pool of Channel Chief honorees each year that represent the cream of the IT channel crop – leaders who drive the channel agenda and evangelize the importance of channel partnerships.

All Channel Chief honorees are selected by CRN's editorial staff on the basis of their professional achievements, standing in the industry, dedication to the channel partner community and strategies for driving future growth and innovation. The complete 2019 CRN Channel Chiefs list is featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN and online here.

Aerohive Networks

Ron Gill

Americas VP, Sales

Under Gill's direction Aerohive Networks continued to grow its partner community and improve its channel execution in 2018. The company recruited a handful of MSP partners who are providing reach and domain expertise in specific verticals.


Terry Wise

VP, Global Alliances, Channels, Amazon Web Services

Wise has overseen the addition of 35,000 partners to the Amazon Partner Network since 2016 with 60 percent outside of U.S. The company's MSP business is growing at almost twice the AWS growth rate and the average partner-led engagement has more than tripled since 2017.

APC by Schneider Electric

Shannon Sbar

VP, Channels

Under Sbar's direction APC by Schneider Electric launched EcoStruxure IT Expert for partners, a SaaS platform that improves solution provider's efficiency with cloud-based monitoring. Providing critical visibility into customers' hybrid IT systems helps VAR and MSP partners increase credibility and loyalty among customers.

Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company

Donna Grothjan

VP, Worldwide Channels, Alliances, SMB

Grothjan was responsible for the development and implementation of several initiatives including a new worldwide security partner program focused around Aruba's ClearPass and IntroSpect solutions with new training and competencies and new incentives for security-focused partners.


Zee Hussain

SVP, Channel Chief, AT&T Partner Solutions

Hussain oversaw the launch of major enhancements to the AT&T Alliance Channel, including more compensation options, support and access to AT&T accounts. Alliance Channel solution providers now have access to enhanced technology platforms and services previously available only through the Partner Exchange.

Check Point Software Technologies

Frank Rauch

Head, Worldwide Channel Sales

Rauch, who headed up the Americas channel for VMware for six years, joined Check Point Software Technologies last month. CEO Gil Shwed has signaled plans to work more closely with partners and Rauch is expected to drive significant new channel investments at the cybersecurity powerhouse.

Cisco Systems

Oliver Tuszik

SVP, Global Partner Organization

Tuszik managed Cisco's launch of the Customer Experience Specialization for partners, helping them build and deliver services across product lifecycles and providing partners with a path to recurring revenue. The new Value Incentive Program Annuity and Activation incentives reward partners for activating Cisco's Digital Network Architecture Center.

CloudHealth by VMware

Bob Kilbride

Sr. Director, Global Channel Sales

Under Kilbride's leadership, the number of MSP partners who leverage the CloudHealth platform increased by 53 percent year over year, moving CloudHealth into new regions and vertical markets. Revenue generated through partner relationships grew by more than 100 percent.

Comcast Business

Craig Schlagbaum

VP, Indirect Channels

Schlagbaum designed and implemented a realignment of Comcast Business' sales team in 2018. He also launched an internal partner sales manager team to support new and smaller partners, allowing the field partner sales team to spend more time helping larger partners.


Owen Taraniuk

VP, Worldwide Partnerships, Market Development

Taraniuk focused on improving partner engagement to make it easier for partners to do business with Commvault and understand its product offerings. He has streamlined processes and created teams across sales, partner and field marketing dedicated to Commvault's four partner categories.


Arlin Sorensen

VP, IT Nation Evolve

Sorensen has played a key role in the integration of ConnectWise with its acquired HTG Peer Group. Sorensen also transitioned IT Nation Connect from a user education conference to an owner/principal thought leadership focused event with 3,600 attendees.


Matthew Polly

VP, Worldwide Business Development and Channels

CrowdStrike underwent a significant U.S. and global expansion, led by Polly. In 2018 the company expanded rapidly in the APAC region, driving impactful initiatives to support the channel ecosystem with key wins in Japan, Australia, and Hong Kong with partners like British Telecom, Telstra, and Macinica.


Rob Rae

VP, Business Development

Rae's accomplishments included helping to oversee an increase in market development funds for Datto's partner base. He was also instrumental in combining Datto's and Autotask's partner conferences, for both North American and European markets, following the merger of the two companies.

Dell EMC

Cheryl Cook

SVP, Global Partner Marketing

Cook spearheaded the launch of MyRewards, a points-based rewards program for leading solution providers; a new partner framework that makes it easier for partners to work across the Dell Technologies businesses; and the President's Circle Awards program, which recognizes partners that have delivered exceptional results.

Dell EMC

Joyce Mullen

President, Global Channel, OEM, IoT

Mullen has helped to oversee a unification of teams within the Dell EMC channel program, bringing increased focus along with the delivery of numerous program enhancements for partners including streamlined deal registration, faster quoting, new incentives and improved rebate payment processes.


Curtiz Gangi

Sales VP, Midmarket, U.S. Channels, Data Center

Under Gangi's leadership, Eaton has seen a nearly 10 percent increase in the number of partners joining its PowerAdvantage Partner Program over the past year, while the number of partners transacting with Eaton multiple times in a single year has nearly doubled since 2017.


Greg Adgate

VP, Global Partnerships

Adgate spearheaded Equinix's strategy of building alliances with large technology providers, creating joint value propositions and recruiting channel partners based on those alliances. Executing the strategy has required new playbooks and training materials, along with joint content and assets for partners.

Extreme Networks

Gordon Mackintosh

VP, Worldwide Channels

Mackintosh oversaw the launch of a unified partner program, bringing together Extreme's program with the partner programs of Avaya and Brocade. For this major effort, Mackintosh managed the integration of everything from partner communications to the development of partners benefits and requirements.


Chris Carter

VP, Americas Channels

Carter initiated a restructuring of the rebate program at FireEye, ultimately increasing partner profitability and rewarding partners at a higher rate for driving new business bookings. Carter also initiated new partner margin incentives, boosting margins and opportunities for partners across all product categories.


Jon Bove

VP, North America Channels

Under Bove's leadership, Fortinet launched a revamped deal registration program that streamlined discounts and simplified the process, rolled out enhanced enablement measures for MSSPs and implemented a feedback loop to determine how Fortinet's program is working for partners.

Google Cloud

Carolee Gearhart

VP, Worldwide Channel Sales

Since taking over as Google Cloud's channel chief last July, Gearhart has helped to generate strong results with partners— including 3.4X growth in partner-driven Google Cloud Platform revenue, year over year, as well as doubling the participation of partners in Google transactions.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Chris Ogburn

VP, Worldwide Marketing

Under Ogburn's leadership, HPE's Partner Ready Digital Marketing Program debuted new capabilities providing partners with a suite of digital marketing resources, tools and content to accelerate their digital marketing initiatives. Ogburn's organization also introduced Marketing Pro Academy, supporting digital marketing and selling education.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Terry Richardson

VP, North America Channels, Alliances

Richardson was a key figure in driving indirect revenue growth at above-market rates at HPE, along with positioning SimpliVity, Nimble and 3PAR mid-range offerings as 100-percent indirect. He also spearheaded the introduction of HPE's GreenLake Flex Capacity, a new consumption-based model, to partners.

HP Inc.

Vincent Brissot

VP, Channel, Digital Operations

Brissot has helped lead HP Inc. to enhance its digital capabilities for partners, leading to a major increase in partner satisfaction, while also increasing the usage of the HP Sales Central partner site and helping to launch the HP Chatbot in the U.S. for partners.

HP Inc.

Stephanie Dismore

VP, GM, Americas Channels

Dismore has driven partner-led growth across multiple product categories at HP Inc., overseeing efforts to provide enhanced tools, resources and training to partners—including the HP University partner training program and HP Sales Central, which provides digital sales enablement tools for partners.


Jason Kimrey

GM, U.S. Channel, Partner Programs

Kimrey drove the integration of Intel's U.S. partner programs into a unified partner organization including distribution, solution providers and ISVs. Kimrey also helped to define and introduce new revenue opportunities for partners in areas such as artificial intelligence, memory/storage and IoT.


Todd Garrigues

Director, U.S. Partner Sales

Garrigues managed the launch of an initiative targeting domain expert integrators—which helps to map the sales funnel for IoT—and assisted with evolving Intel's partner engagement efforts to include emerging partner types in areas such as IoT and cloud.


Jonathan McCormick

COO, Head of Sales

McCormick played a central role in the development and deployment of Intermedia's new UCaaS solution, Intermedia Unite—creating infrastructure from scratch to establish a training, sales, service and technical support structure to enable partner success with the new product.

Juniper Networks

Brian Rosenberg

Corp. VP, Global Partners, Alliances

Rosenberg led the introduction of a new modular specialization program last year, providing Juniper Networks with a toolset to recruit and enable channel partners who specialize in security, cloud and data center—leading to an acceleration in partner recruitment.

Kaspersky Lab

Jason Stein

VP, Channel

Stein played a central role at Kaspersky Lab in growing the company's MSP organization to include more than 400 partners in North America. He has worked closely with the company's Canadian channel team to grow B2B sales in Canada by more than 120 percent.


Rob Cato

North America Channel Chief

Cato has driven the design and execution of a multi-phase channel transformation program at Lenovo North America—targeting growth across specific customer segments—and led efforts to improve sales-to-partner coverage and incentivize partners in achieving higher tier designations.


Sammy Kinlaw

VP, Worldwide Channel, OEM Sales

Under Kinlaw's direction, Lexmark carried out strategic initiatives including expanding brand consideration among partners and changing channel coverage models. An expansion of Lexmark's channel sales team helped drive improved partner participation and a 30-percent increase in the number of partners working with the company.


Ken McCray

Head, Channel Sales, Operations, Americas

McCray has overseen the launch of McAfee's alternate route to market channel initiative, focusing on enabling MSP and cloud service providers to produce new customers for the McAfee Security Platform—ultimately driving incremental booking for both partner segments.


Gavriella Schuster

Corp. VP, One Commercial Partner

Schuster has driven major channel initiatives at Microsoft including its IP Co-Sell program and the addition of new partners at a rate of 7,500 per month, nearly double the rate of two years ago. Meanwhile, cloud solution provider revenue has increased by 234 percent.


Jeff McCullough

VP, Americas Partner Sales

McCullough oversaw the introduction of NetApp's cloud profitability program incentives, coupled with tools to enable a simplified partner sales experience. McCullough also drove the launch of NetApp's Cloud First Partner Program to better support partners spanning from born-in-the-cloud solution providers to traditional VARs.


Rodney Foreman

VP, Global Sales

Foreman led Nutanix's launch of its Power to the Partner channel charter program, focused on empowering partners with components including flexible support through the sales and customer lifecycles and incentives to maximize profitability and revenue.


Iain Urquhart

Group VP, Channel Chief, North America Applications

Urquhart's key channel initiatives at Oracle have included establishing a dedicated team to grow the SMB business and executing new joint go-to-market activities with partners, along with the launch of the Partner Use Case initiative, which enhances how partners monetize their IP.


Nick Tidd

VP, Global Partner Organization

Tidd oversaw enhancements to the Polycom Partner Program around partner measurement, using a points-based system covering key categories rather than tiering partners based on revenue. Polycom also introduced a scorecard that lets partners see real-time updates on the measurement criteria.

Ruckus Networks

Raelyn Kritzer

Channel Chief, VP, Worldwide Channels

Under Kritzer's guidance Ruckus Networks launched its Cloud-Ready Specialization designed to help channel partners drive Ruckus Cloud Wi-Fi sales into new, fast-growing market segments and gain renewable revenue streams. The initiative offers comprehensive tools, training, technical support, and incentives.


J.C. Collins

SVP, COO of Industries, Partners

Collins oversaw the expansion of the Salesforce University and Vetforce programs and continued investment in the Trailhead online learning platform. The company has recorded 19 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth in partner certifications, now at 59,000 certified individuals.

Scale Computing

Scott Mann

Director, North American Channel

Under Mann's direction Scale Computing launched its MSP partner program in June, enabling partners to leverage hyperconvergence technology in their managed service offerings. The company has increased revenue per partner and increased average selling price per partner.

Schneider Electric

Nicolas Windpassinger

Global VP, EcoXpert Partner Program

Windpassinger drove the establishment of a technology partnership with Cisco that is exclusive to Schneider Electric's EcoXpert partner network. Globally the program has recruited nearly 500 new partners, including specializations in the healthcare, hotels, and data center industries.


HoJin Kim

VP, North America Channel Sales

The biggest accomplishment for Kim and his team was the realignment of SonicWall's North American sales organization to provide coverage to each of the SecureFirst partner segments, helping them position and sell across the SonicWall security platform.


Kendra Krause

VP, Global Channels

Krause led the global rollout of the competitive intelligence hotline, originally launched in North America in 2017, offering partners information and advice to persuade sales prospects considering products from other vendors to buy Sophos solutions instead.


Michael Valentine

SVP, Worldwide Sales

Valentine has strengthened the Sophos channel team to improve partner support and make more educational resources available to help partners become security experts. The company's partner roster grew from 26,000 in early fiscal 2017 to more than 43,000 in the first half of fiscal 2019.


Lee Schor

VP, Sales, Americas

Schor focused on working with StorageCraft partners as the company defined the features and functionality requirements for its new flagship products in 2018, soliciting partner feedback to ensure the new products provided technical competitive advantages and worked well within the company's partner ecosystem.


Torjus Gylstorff

VP, Worldwide Partner Sales

Gylstorff played a leading role in driving, developing and executing a channel-first strategy across all customer segments, including driving mid- and small-business growth through cloud solution providers. Symantec also completed its distributor consolidation efforts, working with fewer distributors in a more strategic way.


Kevin Rooney

VP, Americas, Channel Sales

Under Rooney's guidance Veeam, a 100-percent channel sales company, recorded double-digit, year-over-year growth in every customer segment in the Americas. That included 50 percent year-over-year growth in the cloud business while consumption via subscription offers tripled in 2018.


Jenni Flinders

Global Channel Chief

Flinders launched the VMware Master Services Competencies for cloud management and automation, data center virtualization, network virtualization, and desktop and mobility. VMware's partner base expanded by developing existing partners into new practice areas such as network and security, digital workspace, and hyper converged infrastructure.


Charlie Tomeo

VP, Worldwide Business Sales

Tomeo and his team focused on deepening its partnerships within the RMM and PSA provider community, enabling partners to easily sell and turn on DNS Protection and Security Awareness Training to provide additional layers of security to their customers.