The 25 Most Influential Executives Of 2018

The Influencers

The IT industry is constantly in motion, dictated by breakthrough technologies and evolving customer needs. Being able to identify the right people and products to meet growing demands is crucial for the influential leaders of both legacy vendors and hot startups alike.

Here we present our list of the 25 most influential executives of 2018, the executives who through their vision, passion and fire have set the agenda for the channel and for the tech industry as a whole.

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

25. Dennis Polk

President, CEO


Dennis Polk ascended to the CEO slot in March following 16 years with Synnex, most recently in the COO role. Polk has moved aggressively out of the gate, acquiring call center operator leader Convergys to cement the company's leadership spot in the business process outsourcing market.

24. Matt Medeiros

Chairman, CEO


Matt Medeiros has amplified StorageCraft's strong cloud-based focus on technology for protecting data in Office 365 and Google G Suite environments. StorageCraft offers its own massive storage cloud for protecting onpremises data, and has unveiled an integration with Autotask.

23. Charles Giancarlo


Pure Storage

Charles Giancarlo has stood toe-to-toe with rivals in the highly competitive flash storage industry since becoming CEO last year. He has shown that Pure Storage can innovate as much as its larger peers with a strategy that focuses on bringing AI out of the scientific community and into the enterprise.

22. Alain Monie


Ingram Micro

Alain Monie has driven growth during his six years as CEO, spearheading the acquisition of over 20 distribution and services companies. He has turned complexity into an advantage by having Ingram Micro complement what AWS and Azure platforms provide rather than competing against them.

21. Bill Conner

President, CEO


Bill Conner championed SonicWall's introduction of a new partner program that provides blueprints as well as financial, marketing and enablement support to partners with an emerging or established managed security practice. He also expanded the Capture Cloud Program to better support mid-enterprises.

20. Rohit Ghai



Rohit Ghai spearheaded the acquisition of Fortscale to provide customers with new user entity and behavioral analytics capabilities through the RSA NetWitness SIEM platform. He said Fortscale's expertise will give partners a strong upsell opportunity into existing NetWitness customers.

19. Michael Mayberry



Michael Mayberry has driven Intel's global research efforts in computing and communications since being promoted to the CTO role in February. He has also driven allocation and prioritization of directed university research across Intel as head of the company's Corporate Research Council.

18. Mike Long

Chairman, President, CEO

Arrow Electronics

Mike Long has doubled down on digital marketing to drive IT partner sales through the web and capitalize on the high-margin potential of Arrow's digital platform, cloud capabilities and IoT practice. He also spearheaded the acquisition of managed services player eInfochips.

17. Kris Hagerman



Kris Hagerman has capitalized on the increased attention on ransomware to drive more business around Sophos' endpoint tools. Under Hagerman, Sophos debuted the only product that combines machine learning, malware and exploit blocking, and ransomware protections into a single offering.

16. Diane Greene

CEO, Google Cloud


Diane Greene has put the right technology and leadership in place to successfully pitch Google Cloud Platform to traditional business customers. Greene also forged a wide-ranging deal with Cisco to provide the networking giant with a seamless bridge to nextgeneration public cloud technologies.

15. Ken Xie

Chairman, CEO


Ken Xie has grown Fortinet beyond its traditional SMB, Fortune 100 and telecom carrier customer base, extending into the mid-enterprise through its superior technology and holistic fabric approach. He also has catapulted Fortinet to a leadership position around both SD-WAN and the cloud.

14. Thomas Richards

Chairman, President, CEO


Thomas Richards has capitalized on the increased demand for cloud and security. He also is building out a new service called micro cloud consulting that enables customers to get the professional consulting help they can afford in small, eight-hour increments.

13. Rich Hume


Tech Data

Rich Hume is a 35-year channel veteran who time and again has helped partners adopt new business models. He ascended to Tech Data's CEO position in June and is betting big on having Tech Data build out capabilities to support the rise of Device-as-a-Service consumption models in the PC market.

12. Greg Clark



Greg Clark has forged tight integrations between Symantec's offerings to help migrate customers to cloud and subscriptionbased services. His ability to offer compelling integration options around Symantec's cloud proxy has resulted in cloud adoption occurring much faster than anticipated.

11. Kevin Mandia



Kevin Mandia has streamlined FireEye's go-to-market strategy around pricing, packaging and messaging, which has paid dividends for the company's channel community. The move also has enabled the company to reach new markets and achieve gains in its operating leverage.

10. Marc Benioff

Chairman, CEO


Marc Benioff catapulted Salesforce to a $10 billion run rate and almost immediately thereafter set his sights on $20 billion. AI is the future of all Salesforce applications, he has said, and the company's advanced data science has made it possible for users to create smart apps with clicks, not code.

9. George Kurian

President, CEO


George Kurian has helped morph NetApp from a storage vendor to one of the key players in the cloud. He also has taken NetApp to new heights in the converged and hyper-converged market, thanks largely to the company's strong and growing FlexPod relationship with Cisco.

8. Larry Ellison

Chairman, CTO


Larry Ellison has challenged Amazon's dominance in the cloud with a self-driving database service. The cloud database will be the first of several autonomous services he will unleash this year that leverage machine learning to automate management and achieve unrivaled security and cost efficiencies.

7. Dion Weisler

President, CEO

HP Inc.

Dion Weisler has delivered four consecutive quarters of growth in both HP's PC and printer businesses. He also has generated momentum around the company's 3-D printing business, which uses technology HP honed in the inkjet market to control prints down to a finely detailed, precise level.

6. Chuck Robbins

Chairman, CEO

Cisco Systems

Chuck Robbins is transforming legacy networking behemoth Cisco into an open, software-focused power player. He has emphasized network programmability, application development, DevOps and open APIs as he aims to position Cisco as the preeminent open networking platform vendor.

5. Andy Jassy


Amazon Web Services

Andy Jassy has built a wildly popular cloud business that's projected to have a $22 billion run rate this year and could someday outpace the company's retail business. He's championed new trends such as AI and customized data center infrastructure to help drive growth in the cloud.

4. Satya Nadella



Satya Nadella is seeking to revolutionize nearly every industry with technologies including cloud, AI and mixed reality. He has helped Microsoft become a cloud security leader with advanced AI that sifts through hundreds of billions of data points per month to identify anomalies.

3. Antonio Neri

President, CEO

Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Antonio Neri has taken HPE's customer- and partner-first legacy to new heights since ascending to the CEO role Feb. 1. His Next initiative has simplified HPE and accelerated innovation, bringing a rising tide of passion, energy and excitement to employees, customers and partners.

2. Michael Dell

Chairman, CEO

Dell Technologies

Michael Dell's acquisition of data storage giant EMC has paid dividends, with Dell becoming the worldwide leader in both server and storage market share in the first quarter of the year. Dell plans to continue investing for the long term as he once again takes the company public on the New York Stock Exchange.

1. Pat Gelsinger



Pat Gelsinger, CRN's Most Influential Executive of 2018, has navigated VMware through a period that included uncertainty created by Dell's $67 billion acquisition of EMC, a plummeting stock price, disruptive threats to VMware's core business from cloud and container technologies, a struggling public cloud product strategy, and reports of a potential Dell buyout or reverse merger.

Amid the uncertainty about VMware's future as an independent company, Gelsinger and team buckled down and fought to maintain ’business as usual’ despite the distractions. Those efforts paid off in May when VMware reported 14 percent year-over-year sales growth to $2.01 billion for its first fiscal quarter, ended April 31.

VMware channel partners offer kudos to Gelsinger, not just for getting the company through some serious turbulence, but also for getting VMware back to its roots as a channel-centric organization and providing partners with a way to contribute to VMware's success.