The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2019

Here we present the 2019 class of the 25 Most Influential individuals in the technology industry.

The Influencers

It's no easy task not only to stay on top of the constantly changing IT market but to actually drive it. A select few people have the necessary combination of vision, know-how and leadership to guide both the channel and the tech industry as a whole to new heights as areas such as digital transformation, Everything as a Service and artificial intelligence become the new normal.

Here we present our list of the 25 most influential executives of 2019, the ones with the foresight to make markets and passion to get other people on board. In short, the ones people stop and listen to.

Be sure to also visit the complete list of the Top 100 Executives Of 2019.

25. Dennis Polk
President, CEO
A year-and-a-half into his role as CEO, Polk just set a sales record for the distributor, pushing quarterly revenue to $5.7 billion thanks in part to the $2.8 billion acquisition of call center operator Convergys, which was completed in October.

24. Matt Medeiros
Chairman, CEO
Medeiros combines storage know-how and financial savvy, two key traits needed to shake up an industry. And he has done so in the three years since he took the reins at StorageCraft, applying both to turn the backup company into an MSP-focused primary and secondary storage powerhouse.

23. Dheeraj Pandey
Chairman, CEO
Pandey has defied the odds, building a hyper-converged software powerhouse that just celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Now this visionary—who came to the U.S. with $900 in his pocket—has “reset the clock” to power a new era of hybrid cloud software sales growth with Nutanix Multicloud Services.

22. Charles Giancarlo
Pure Storage
Under Giancarlo, upstart Pure Storage has rapidly grown to be the No. 7 storage vendor in revenue on the back of its all-flash storage technology. That laser focus gives Pure Storage the potential to continue taking market share and makes Giancarlo one of the most innovative men in the storage industry.

21. Mike Long
Chairman, President, CEO
Arrow Electronics

Long is in the midst of reshaping Arrow Electronics, streamlining the company to focus fully on its breadand-butter distribution services. He’s also driving an expansion of the distributor’s line card to focus on key areas like cloud and the Internet of Things.

20. Rich Hume
Tech Data

The 35-year industry veteran has created a nimble distribution powerhouse by enhancing the regional go-to-market model for partners and making investments in cloud, analytics and IoT, security and next-generation services. Hume’s handiwork is helping redefine what it means to be a distributor.

19. Christine Leahy

After being named CDW’s CEO at the beginning of the year, Leahy has stayed true to her word of letting her work do the talking. Since she took the helm of CDW, the stock market has reacted favorably, recently resulting in a 40 percent spike in its share price.

18. Kris Hagerman
Under Hagerman’s leadership, Sophos added endpoint detection and response capabilities to Sophos’ Intercept X endpoint protection tool to deliver faster, more extensive malware discovery for customers. He also spearheaded three acquisitions: Avid Secure, DarkBytes and Rook Security.

17. Yang Yuanquing
Chairman, CEO
Yang led Lenovo to reclaim the No. 1 position in global PC sales last year, bolstered by strong innovation and a greater focus on the North American market. He has also presided over Lenovo’s bold data center push, which has seen the company’s server and storage businesses achieve major growth.

16. Alain Monie
Ingram Micro
Monie is moving full-speed ahead in showing how distributors and their channel partners can turn the cloud into a huge advantage. He just led Ingram Micro to the best financial results of its 40-year history, topping $50 billion in revenue worldwide and more than $3 billion in profits.

15. Dion Weisler
President, CEO
HP Inc.
Weisler has led a massive transformation at HP Inc. that’s seen the company generate strong growth in two challenging markets, PCs and printers. Weisler is working to keep up the momentum with investments in differentiated security features and big bets in areas such as Device-as-aService and 3-D printing.

14. George Kurian
President, CEO

No “legacy” vendor has tied its fortunes to seamless connectivity to multi-cloud environments like NetApp has. Under Kurian, NetApp is showing the rest of the IT industry the need to leave proprietary technologies behind and embrace the cloud before they are swallowed up by it.

13. Ken Xie
With Xie leading the charge, Fortinet acquired ZoneFox, adding machine learning-based threat detection and response capabilities to better protect against insider threats. Xie also forged a partnership with Symantec to deliver essential security controls across endpoint, network and cloud environments.

12. Thomas Kurian
President, CEO
Google Cloud
Kurian took the top Google Cloud job last November and quickly has made Google Cloud a stronger contender to AWS and Microsoft. The fruits of his labor include Anthos, a multicloud platform that works with AWS and Azure, and a big bet on partners with the Google Cloud Partner Advantage program.

11. John Donahoe
President, CEO
ServiceNow CEO Donahoe is leading one of the hottest companies in tech into new territory, with the company’s latest update bringing the automation platform to mobile devices to help give employees the ease of the consumer computer experience at work.

10. Larry Ellison
Chairman, CTO
Oracle’s legendary founder isn’t following his contemporaries into a post-tech life of ease and philanthropy. As CTO, Ellison is more engaged in day-to-day operations than he has been in years, personally leading product and architectural development in his quest to transform Oracle into a fullstack cloud powerhouse.

9. Kevin Mandia
Under Mandia’s leadership, FireEye enhanced its Helix platform to better detect threats, automate response and simplify compliance reporting. Mandia also ensured improved customer and partner access to FireEye’s world-class security experts and threat intelligence through the Expertise on Demand offering.

8. Robert Swan
After leading Intel on an interim basis, Swan has taken the mantle of the world’s most consequential semiconductor company and fine-tuned the chipmaker’s data-centric strategy. Under his leadership, he has enabled new executive recruits to fundamentally change the way chips are made.

7. Satya Nadella
Nadella has turned Microsoft into a cloud powerhouse by driving rapid growth of the Azure cloud platform and cloud business applications such as Office 365. He has catalyzed a shift in Microsoft’s culture that has sparked innovation in areas such as security, AI and edge computing.

6. Marc Benioff
Chairman, CEO
Benioff has set and met wildly ambitious goals like scaling the cloud pioneer to $10 billion in annual revenue faster than any software company. He’s now pushing to double the business organically within four years but has also made blockbuster deals like the $15.7 billion plan to buy Tableau Software.

5. Chuck Robbins
Chairman, CEO
Cisco Systems
Robbins is moving the needle on the tech giant’s transformation in favor of software and services. This year, Robbins has been heads-down-focused on customer experience and urging channel partners to seek out all of the life-cycle opportunities they can get their hands on.

4. Pat Gelsinger
Recently ranked America’s best CEO in a Glassdoor survey, Gelsinger has won praise from Wall Street and VMware’s channel for executing an ambitious cloud transformation that’s revitalized the business with a portfolio expanded beyond the data center and alliances with AWS and parent Dell Technologies.

3. Andy Jassy
Amazon Web Services
The undisputed cloud champion of the world, Jassy continues to defy the odds in the intensely competitive cloud services market by surpassing any and every benchmark, with AWS now clocking in at a $31 billion revenue run rate with 41 percent year-over-year sales growth.

2. Antonio Neri
President, CEO
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
No CEO has had a bigger impact in such a short period of time. Neri, who took the helm of HPE 18 months ago, has the company racing into the future to capture fast-growing market opportunities like intelligent edge, intelligent storage and high-performance computing.

1. Michael Dell
CEO, Founder, Chairman
Dell Technologies
CRN’s Most Influential Executive of 2019 is none other than Michael Dell, founder of Dell Technologies and the 25th richest person in the world, according to Forbes. Dell has been a longtime influencer in the technology world but is making waves in 2019 through global market share dominance in server, storage and hyper-converged infrastructure.
Dell has spent years crafting what he calls, “the essential infrastructure company” through its successful integration – both operational and technical – of EMC and VMware into Dell Technologies. The $91 billion Round Rock, Texas-based infrastructure giant is now hitting its innovation strive this year through synergies between its seven brands of businesses and by launching the Dell Technologies Partner Program aimed at helping channel partners seamlessly sell across the company.
Michael Dell now has his sights set on artificial intelligence and data-driven innovation. “Technology spending, technology investment will be roughly twice that of GDP growth over the next few years,” said Dell in a recent interview with CRN. “The implications here in terms of the new infrastructure, tools and capabilities required to build all this out is quite substantial. This is why we created Dell Technologies.”

[Read our cover story: The Future According To Michael Dell]