CDN Top 25 Newsmakers of 2008

The 2008 Top 25 Newsmakers

Well, another year has passed and again the time has come to reflect on what has gone by in 2008.

In the IT industry the one constant this year has been virtualization whether in server, storage or desktop.
The clear cut leader in virtualization is VMware and this is why the team at CDN selected Grant Aitken, general manager of VMware Canada as the No. 1 newsmaker for 2008.

by Paolo Del Nibletto, Editor of CDN

Grant Aitken of VMware Canada

Long time channel executive Grant Aitken is the general manager of VMware Canada, which up until this year was the only major vendor providing virtualization software solutions to the market place.
The broad market acceptance of virtualization as an IT solution that can save money, while producing amazing results in efficiency has led to Aitken being named the top newsmaker for this year — the year of virtualization.

Julie Parrish of NetApp

Julie Parrish was embroiled in the biggest channel disruption of 2008.
A conference call with financial analysts held June 12 by Symantec COO Enrique Salem let the channel to believe that the company’s distribution and channel may move to a one-tier distribution model taking SMB license renewals direct. The job fell on Parrish to quell the rumours and misunderstandings.
Last month, Parrish took on the role as vice-president of worldwide channel sales for data and storage management solution vendor, NetApp.

Dave Frederickson of HP Canada

In a year of significant product releases and evolving technology trends for Hewlett Packard, the channel chief of HP Canada says the channel highlight of 2008 may well have been the significant growth the vendor experiences in its Canadian channel.
Dave Frederickson says HP Canada paid out 30 per cent more through its Partner One program than in 2007 and grew the size of its partner business by 15 per cent.

Nick Tidd of D-Link

Nick Tidd is no stranger to the Top 25 Newsmakers list, having nabbed the No. 2 spot a couple of times in years gone by. This year, however, Tidd comes to the list from a place he never could have imagined he would have been a year ago.
Earlier this year in March, Tidd left 3Com after 15 years with the company when his group was phased out after a company-wide restructuring. Now at D-Link and focusing on the North American marketplace, Tidd said that one thing he won’t miss about his old job at 3Com is the over 100,000 airline miles he racked up each year at 3Com.

Greg Davis of Dell Computer

Last year’s top newsmaker had a hard act to follow. How could Greg Davis, Dell’s Americas channel chief and former GM of the Canadian operation, top changing the direct vendor’s stripes and embracing the channel?
It’s not like he didn’t try.
He made a major Canadian announcement in February ushering in the Partner Direct channel program. This was the announcement that the channel was hotly anticipating ever since Michael Dell claimed “direct was a revolution; not a religion.”

Lora Gernon of Microsoft Canada

Lora Gernon says engaging with partners has been Microsoft Canada’s focus for 2008, with substantial investments made by the vendor in building the capacity and the skill sets in its channel to bring Microsoft’s offerings to market.
Gernon is responsible for the overall Canadian partner ecosystem as the partner lead for Microsoft Canada. And, as a 100 per cent channel company, Microsoft relies on its partners for its success.

Wendy Hayes of Apple Canada

Wendy Hayes, managing director of Apple Canada, wasn’t kidding when she said the company’s priority for 2008 was to continue to deliver innovative products that will suit its customers’ needs.
Apple’s new MacBook Air was small-enough-to-fit-in-a-manila-envelope.
The long-anticipated iPhone finally made its way to Canada on July 11. Apple slashed its prices so that the 8GB version sold at under $200.


Conrad Mandala of SAP

SAP is not traditionally known as a channel company but it is trying to change that image through the development of its channel program and tailored solutions for the small and medium enterprise market.
That’s where Conrad Mandala, who heads up SAP’s North American channels, comes in and what landed him in this year’s Top 25 Newsmakers list.
Mandala was given the responsibility of delivering the SAP Business One application for small businesses through managing reseller operations, developing partners and driving go-to-market strategies for the product line.


Kevin Murai of Synnex

The departure and return of Kevin Murai to the distribution business was a major story in 2008 and placed him in the top 10 newsmakers.
Murai retired from Ingram Micro in January only to be drawn back into the business by Bob Huang of Synnex, who also announced his retirement. Synnex also hired for Ingram Canada president Martin Kalsbeek for its Canadian operation.

Larry Keating of NPC

The long time veteran of the manufacturing rep wars brought the term No Panic Computing to the market place.
Through long term deals with HP, Intel, Iron Mountain and others Larry Keating, founder and president of Keating Technologies offered the channel the Notebook-As-A-Service model.

Mark Snider of Ingram Micro Canada

Last year Mark Snider shared the No. 8 Top Newsmaker position with Charlie Spano of Ingram Micro Canada.
This year Snider, who took control of the Canadian operation in June is all alone at No. 11.
And it was on June 11th, when a memo from the desk of Keith Bradley, Ingram Micro’s North American president, changed his career. He was named sole general manager of the

The Joe Vos Scandal

For James Alexander (pictured) and Moishe Lerman the sentencing of Joe Vos by an Ontario court to roughly a month for every million he defrauded brought closure to an unpleasant, expensive and long journey for the two channel veterans.
In the court approved Agreed Statement of Facts that Joe Vos signed, the former co-owner of Microage Southwestern Ontario for a period of six years took money from Microage and MetaFore and hid it by creating phony accounts receivables and invoices that totaled to approximately $29 million.

Kirsten Thompson of SoftChoice

Softchoice Corp. this year had the unfortunate task of having to protect its interests and that of its customers with two lawsuits against former employees hired by a competing U.S.-based VAR called En Pointe Technologies. The legal action centred on the trend of poaching and corporate raiding.
Kirsten Thompson, Softchoice’s general counsel, was at the forfront of this legal battle and for that yeoman’s duty was named a CDN Top 25 Newsmaker.

Hector Ruiz of AMD

Two years ago, Hector Ruiz, the CEO of AMD, was almost named CDN’s Top Newsmaker for the company’s acquisition of ATI. The magazine named ATI’s CEO David Orton instead.
But that bit of news still lives with Ruiz, who had to step down as chief executive this year in favour of Dirk Mayer and through a complex investment fund/merger deal split the chipmaker into two companies.

Doug Cooper of Intel Canada

Unlike rival AMD, Intel Canada had the sort of year that most in the channel expect them to have — a great one. At the head of this organization in Canada is the same man that has been leading the subsidiary for many years — Doug Cooper, a former Newsmaker of the year.
Having been with Intel Corp. for the past 25 years, Cooper, the country manager for Canada, said his time at work and in the industry has been quite the roller coaster ride.

Nitin Kawale of Cisco Systems Canada

Having had a front-row seat while president Terry Walsh tripled Cisco Canada’s business over the last five years, Nitin Kawale understands well the big shoes he has had to step into as head of one of the networking vendor’s top performing subsidiaries.
Kawale, a Cisco Systems Canada veteran, took over the presidency of the Canadian operation this spring following Walsh’s return to his native Australia.

Mike Zafirovski of Nortel Networks

It was a year of ups and downs for Nortel Networks, the company that was once the jewel in Canada’s IT crown and for its president and CEO, Mike Zafirovski.
The telecom and networking equipment vendor has been struggling to recapture its former successes, and has been making strong progress in emerging markets such as unified communications and through partnerships with vendors such as Microsoft and IBM.

Ross Allen of McAfee Canada

With Ross Allen as general manager of security vendor McAfee’s Canadian operations, partners know someone who knows the challenges of the channel. Allen is a former president of InfoStream Technologies, a Richmond Hill, Ont.-based systems integrator, and came to McAfee after positions with EMC and Copan Systems.

Ross Chevalier of Novell Canada

With the promotion of Katie McAuliff to vice-president of channels, Novell Americas, Novell Canada turned to a long-time Novell mainstay in tapping the subsidiary’s chief technology officer, Ross Chevalier, to lead the Canadian operation.
A 25-year veteran of Canada’s IT industry, Chevalier says he’s grateful for the opportunity and excited for
the challenge.

Rick Reid of Tech Data Canada

In 2007 Rick Reid was a part of the long and painful fall of NexInnovations, one of Canada’s largest solution providers.
This year wasn’t so eventful as 2007, but it was significant for the long-time president of Tech Data Canada. Reid has been focused on ensuring the distributor’s partners have the technology, support, solutions and financing tools in place to navigate a rocky period for the IT industry.

Stuart Turk of OTG

Stuart Turk, former CEO of On The Go Technologies Group (OTG), once said he wanted to create an “empire strictly in IT” by acquiring resellers in the industry. In March, Turk’s empire plans came to an end when FTS Group acquired the company.
The Concord, Ont.-based VAR and systems integrator, which Turk said was once valued between $32 and $35 million, was later purchased for $4 million by FTS Group.

Don Smith of Mitel Networks

Following its merger with Inter-Tel last year, Don Smith, the CEO of Ottawa-based Mitel Networks, announced a new channel strategy with the Canadian availability of its Exclusive Business Partner (EBP) channel program earlier this year.
The EBP program was initially launched in the U.S. because it was first developed by Inter-Tel four years ago and there were 22 partners already enrolled in the program. The program later launched in Canada on May 1.

Fiaaz Walji of Websense Canada

This year has been one of many changes for Websense Inc., a global provider of integrated Web, data and e-mail security solutions, says Fiaaz Walji, country manager for Websense in Canada.
At the beginning of the year, the company introduced its ChannelConnect Global Partner Program, following the acquisition of SurfControl last October. The program was meant to combine the best of both company’s previous partner programs, into one cohesive one.

Mary Ann Yule of CDW Canada

After working for four years at CDW Canada, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Vernon Hills, Ill.-based CDW Corp., Mary Ann Yule was promoted to become the general manager of the Canadian counterpart.
Yule, who previously held the director of marketing and procurement role at CDW Canada took over for Pete Edwards, who is now the director of the Pacific region for medium/large business and is responsible for CDW’s newly-opened Chandler, Ariz. office.

The Economy

With fuel, transport and business costs on the rise, and the economy heading into a recession, today’s troubled economic times are at the top of everyone’s minds.
Due to a slowdown in the global economy and the credit crisis, many organizations are having to find ways to stay efficient and competitive and that is why it made the Newsmakers list.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

CDN Staff
CDN Staff
For over 25 years, CDN has been the voice of the IT channel community in Canada. Today through our digital magazine, e-mail newsletter, video reports, events and social media platforms, we provide channel partners with the information they need to grow their business.

CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.

More Slideshows