The CDN Top 25 Newsmakers for 2013

The CDN Top 25 Newsmakers for 2013

CDN got a late start on revealing 2013’s Top 25 Newsmakers for the Canadian channel. But better late than never.

This year CDN’s editorial staff had a difficult time selecting and ranking executives in the channel. Some of the top choices may have seemed like no-brainers but it’s not as easy as it looks. Who came out on top? Do you agree with our picks? Read on, and find out. 

Newsmakers 2013

No 1. Thorsten Heins of BlackBerry

If 2013 proved anything for BlackBerry and its legion of supporters throughout Canada it was that Thorsten Heins was not the answer.


No. 2 Kevin Peesker of Dell Canada

The return of Kevin Peesker to the Canadian channel was a major story in 2013. Dell Canada was at a point in time where they were virtually rudderless. Peesker’s Canada first go to market strategy made Peesker a Top 25 Newsmaker.


No. 3 Phil Sorgen of Microsoft

It’s always good to have friends in high places, so Microsoft’s Canadian partners must have been pleased in 2013 to see a familiar face become the vendor’s global channel chief.


No. 4 Lloyd Bryant of HP Canada

After years of stellar service with HP Canada across a variety of key leadership roles, Lloyd Bryant finally got tapped for the lead role at the subsidiary late in 2013.


No. 5 Bob Elliott of SAP Canada

Change was a constant in 2013 and change was something that SAP Canada embraced throughout the year. The most visible change came at the top with the departure of Mark Aboud, the longtime face of subsidiary. Brought into replace Aboud is Bob Elliott who was previously the senior vice-president of sales and has extensive channel experience.


No. 6 Dan Fortin of IBM Canada

IBM has been making serious investments in Canada in recent years, from research centres to data centres, and in May 0f 2013 it brought back a familiar face – Dan Fortin – to lead Big Blue’s charge North of the border.


No. 7 Rick Reid of Tech Data Canada

The only executive to make each CDN Top 25 Newsmaker list since its inception in 2001, Rick Reid, president of Tech Data Canada had an extraordinary year. The Hartco deal alone was a master stroke for Reid. After more than 35 years running a distribution business, Hartco decided to focus on its franchising business exclusively.


No. 8 Gavin Garbutt of N-Able/SolarWinds

2013 saw the last of the original Canadian managed services providers N-Able Technologies get acquired. Ottawa-based N-Able was acquired by Texas-based SolarWinds for $120 million and CEO Gavin Garbutt said N-Able would not lose its brand name or be forced to make any changes to its channel direction.


No. 9 Mitchell Martin of Synnex Canada

The Canadian distribution market just got a little smaller in 2013. The biggest deal saw Synnex Canada acquire all the assets of Supercom for approximately $36.5 million. Synnex Canada president Mitchell Martin set his sights on nothing less than dominating the Canadian market.


No. 10 David MacDonald of Softchoice

After taking the title of Top Solution Provider of 2012 in CDN’s Top 100 riding, Softchoice CEO Dave MacDonald seemed determined to ensure the company didn’t rest on its laurels in 2013, making several moves to grow and try to keep its podium spot.


No. 11 Nitin Kawale of Cisco Canada

In 2013, Nitin Kawale, the president of Cisco Systems Canada, established himself as one of the great deal makers in the Canadian channel. The networking vendor bet big on the province of Ontario and furthered company CEO John Chambers’ Canadian agenda by inking an agreement that may see Cisco’s employee base in Ontario soar to more than 5,000 people by 2024.


No. 12 Mark Snider of Ingram Micro Canada

Mark Snider, the president of Ingram Micro Canada spearheaded the creation of two new divisions inside is Canadian operation based in Mississauga, Ont. New to Ingram Canada are the Advanced Computing and Advanced Technical divisions.


No. 13 Stefan Bockhop of Lenovo Canada

Lenovo had a record setting year in 2013. The company officially became the global leader in personal computing. IDC stats showed Lenovo grew faster than the market as well as faster than HP and Dell. In Canada, Stefan Bockhop, director of channel sales for Lenovo Canada, built on the company’s momentum in the market place by collaborating with Mississauga, Ont.-based distributor Tech Data Canada to expand Lenovo Partner Credit program.


No. 14 Eric Gales of VMware Canada

The task for Eric Gales in his first full year as VMware Canada’s country manager was to transition the subsidiary from a segment of the U.S. sales arm to an independent business with a full Canadian engagement model.


No. 15 Graham Palmer of Intel Canada

Intel signaled plans to grow its Canadian business in April by bringing Graham Palmer over from the UK business as its new Canada country manager with instructions for a reorganization. Palmer plans to run Intel Canada as an independent subsidiary, with made in Canada strategy.


No. 16 Marcel Escorcio of Hitachi Data Systems Canada

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) Canada got a major makeover in the executive suite in 2013 with the departure of long-time subsidiary head Barry Morrison and his replacement by another HDS veteran, Marcel Escorcio.


No. 17 Gord Mawhinney of Long View

The seventh largest solution provider on CDN’s Top 100 Solution Provider list named a new leader.
Gord Mawhinney was promoted to CEO of Calgary-based Long View succeeding the iconic Don Bialik in the role. The company helped all of its customer and government maintain operations during the great Calgary flood.


No. 18 Mandy Shapansky of Xerox Canada

Under president and CEO Mandy Shapansky, Xerox Canada made a splash in 2012 with the acquisition of managed print services provider Laser Networks, and it continued that momentum into 2013 with a renewed focus on its channel partners.


No. 19 Carl Paquin of Groupe Millennium Micro

The largest solution provider community group in Canada, in terms of membership, became Groupe Millenium Micro in 2013 with 240 reseller owners as members. Those members have 258 storefronts or office locations across Canada. The buying group, which got started in 2003, is currently in eight provinces and one territory.


No. 20 Renzo Di Paquale of Avaya Canada

Renzo DiPasquale, the former channel chief of Avaya Canada, was all over the community in 2013.  From January on, DiPasquale was the guiding force behind bringing the popular U.S. channel program GrowRight to the Canadian channel in 2013.


No. 21 Sean Forkan of Symantec Canada

In a year of change at Symantec, Sean Forkan was a constant as vice-president and general manager of Symantec Canada. And Forkan brought about new channel reforms that included a unified engineering division, a reduced product line-up with fewer SKUs through product integration, and a simplified go-to-market strategy.


No. 22 Michael Murphy of Citrix Canada

As the country manager for Citrix Systems in Canada, the challenge for Michael Murphy is to catch Canadian customers up with the new technologies the vendor is bringing to market. In Canada, Murphy changed the top channel program tiers. They will no longer be invitation-only, and will be country-based instead of regional. Citrix sees services as an underserviced opportunity, and wants to build capacity with more differentiated partner tiers.

No. 23 James Politeski of Samsung Canada

Running a business that makes everything from smartphones to washing machines, James Politeski has his hands full as the president of Samsung Canada. While it was a busy year for product launches, the big news for Samsung in Canada for 2013 was the opening of its first Canadian Research & Development Centre in Vancouver.

No. 24 Fernando Quintero of McAfee 

Fernando Quintero, McAfee’s vice president of channel sales for the Americas, proposed a new formula for channel success in 2013. That formula was to be better connected.
Quintero realized that the product and partnership mix was all off. The channel wasn’t interested in handling 20 vendor partnerships with 50 different product solutions anymore. Instead McAfee would consolidate down to just a few.


No. 25 Edward Snowden 

The final newsmaker of the year former CIA computer analyst and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden. Snowden became famous for leaking top secret NSA documents to the media. What the Snowden affair revealed to security experts and the whole world actually was that all Internet activity may be monitored. Considering that Canadian Internet traffic routinely routes through the U.S., this means that individual Canadians can be as much, or even more, under the lens as any American, without the benefit of any judicial oversight.



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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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