President, Verizon Enterprise Solutions
Analysts took notice this year when Verizon agreed to sell its cloud and hosting business to IBM—an indication the telecom giant was in retreat after struggling mightily for six years to lift its cloud business off the ground. For Fischer, a longtime executive with CA Technologies who joined Verizon in 2014 as a sales executive, the deal was simply evidence that his enterprise business was heating up. Indeed, since the cloud sale, the New York–based enterprise division has invested in the public sector, with plans to launch a network exclusively for first responders in a bid to compete against AT&T and FirstNet, both of which launched emergency networks after 9/11.
VP, Wholesale Marketing & International Commercial Operations, Valero Energy
As vice president of wholesale marketing and international commercial operations, Fisher oversees a vast sales force across Montreal, Dublin and Western Europe, where the oil and gas multinational produces some 270,000 barrels of fuel per day. Perhaps his biggest accomplishment since joining the company 20 years ago, however, was his successful leadership as president of Valero’s European commercial operations, which grew exponentially following the acquisition in 2011 of a refinery in Wales, 11 fuel terminals and more than 1,000 gas stations across the U.K. and Ireland. As vice president of International Commercial Operations, Fisher will have an opportunity to repeat his past success, particularly in Mexico, where Valero has begun to pursue new fuel markets following energy reforms. “Valero does a lot of business in Mexico, but with the reforms that have been implemented, we can now not only sell the barrels to Mexico, but we can control the barrels and own the barrels in Mexico and move them further inland,” Valero CEO Joseph Gorder said in September. Such progress is most certainly music to Fisher’s ears.
Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Development, Aramark Uniform Services
Considering the Texas Short Rib Grilled Cheese served during the Super Bowl at Houston’s NRG Stadium this year and potatoes dished daily at prisons nationwide, Aramark’s vast food-service business is ubiquitous—even if many of its customers don’t realize. But as vice president of sales, marketing and business development at the 57-year-old company, Flaherty is responsible not only for launching new relationships with many of the largest Fortune 500 companies and institutional clients alike, but also modernizing the dining experience itself. Under Flaherty, a 10-year veteran of Aramark based in Dallas, gone are the days of processed food. Instead, clients like Goldman Sachs and 3M are feasting on low-calorie menus with locally sourced, organic ingredients served from so-called personalization stations instead of the antiquated cafeteria-style lines of yesteryear. “It really is a commitment for us by the year 2020 to take out some of the things that are bad for you,” Aramark CEO Eric Foss told Fox Business. “Things like saturated fat, calories, sodium and increase by 20 percent the things that are better for you, like fruit, vegetables and whole grains.”
President, Adobe Americas, Adobe
If success were measured solely in square feet, 2017 would be a banner year for Adobe, which this summer aggressively expanded its footprint at its headquarters in San Jose and elsewhere, including India and Utah, where plans are underway to double its local workforce by building a new state-of-the-art $90 million building. In New York, where Frieder serves as president of Adobe Americas, success, however, is tallied not by brick and mortar but sales. To be sure, in July the 35-year-old company, best known for Photoshop, added voice recognition technology to its enterprise-facing Analytics Cloud, and in March teamed with Microsoft to reformat its marketing software, Experience Cloud, to run seamlessly with the Redmond, Washington-based tech behemoth’s Dynamics CRM software. The partnership, if successful, could threaten to unseat Salesforce as the reigning king of customer relationship management and keep Frieder and the sales team he’s led since 2016 busy for the foreseeable future.
Senior Vice President, Global Sales, Gartner
With Gartner investing heavily in information technology, what with its $2.6 billion acquisition of CEB in March, expect the Connecticut-based research and advisory firm to expand rapidly into heretofore-unexplored industries—but don’t be surprised to find Godfrey close behind. Since his exit from the United Kingdom, where he oversaw inside sales at the firm in the early 2000s, to his stateside arrival in 2006, the senior vice president of global sales has taken an unflinching approach to marketing Gartner’s technology insights across 100 countries and more than 60,000 clients, including chief information officers, governments and telecom users. “Dave is the most inspiring sales leader I’ve had the honor to work for,” Amin Motie, a former colleague at Gartner, wrote of Godfrey. “Dave knows how to motivate his team while asking for 200 percent. What impresses me most is it always feels right to follow Dave’s footsteps, no matter how long or how tough a journey may be.”
Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, Sysco
Following its acquisition of European food distributor the Brakes Group, the Houston-based food-service multinational tallied $10.6 billion in international sales in fiscal 2017, up dramatically from $5.4 billion a year earlier. Closer to home, Goetz, a senior vice president of sales marketing for the company’s national accounts, has helped increase revenues to an estimated $16 billion a year, in part through the development of customer insights and bold marketing, including a campaign he spearheaded to embed Sysco products on the reality show Chopped: Impossible. “They’re watching it to get ideas to help them be more successful in their business,” Goetz told the Houston Chronicle, referencing the estimated 70 percent of Sysco customers who, according to a survey, watch the Food Network at least once a week. “When we saw that, we realized the Food Network could be a great platform for us.”
President, North America, Blackboard
Since joining Blackboard in 2015, Gruzin has helped expand the Washington, D.C.–based education technology company’s roster of customers—drawing in institutions including Northwest Florida State College and Texas A&M University—while transitioning hundreds of others to a cloud-based SaaS platform. If his prior experience as a vice president of IBM’s software division is any indication, clients can expect a renewed focus on product innovation under Gruzin’s tenure, and, following several key acquisitions over the past five years, the development of new analytics tools. “Analytics is an exciting new space for us and for our clients,” Blackboard CEO Bill Ballhaus told the education news site Campus Technology in 2016. “When we think about what our clients are really trying to accomplish, it’s outcomes—and the ability to use analytics to help them improve those outcomes.”
Chief Sales and Solutions Officer, SVP the UPS Store, UPS
From artificial-intelligence-enabled chat bots to the rise of niche-oriented supply-chain logistics and even a marketing partnership with Taylor Swift, Gutmann’s impact on the world’s largest package-delivery company is unquestionable. Since joining UPS as a marketing intern in 1989, the Troy, New York, native has ascended the Sandy Springs, Georgia–based multinational by embracing new technologies and betting on high-profile marketing campaigns, most recently a deal with Swift to plaster the pop star’s face across delivery trucks nationwide. Pegged to the release of the artist’s latest album, UPS shipped copies to retailers and fans using a custom-made logistics plan designed for the recording industry. “From our service providers who will be delivering fans’ wishes, to the logistics team who ‘tailor-made’ a new solution for album distribution, UPS is ready for our world-class performance,” said Gutmann in August, just before the marketing push. But whether designed for music or health care, Gutmann has consistently helped fine-tune highly customized customer solutions across dozens of industries, ensuring her future success at the company.
Vice President and General Manager, Sprint
Sprint surprised stockholders in August by posting its first profitable quarter in three years—and perhaps its best financial performance in more than a decade. A result of cost cutting and improvements to its network, the uptick, to be sure, also came in no small part due to a rising focus on its small, medium and enterprise business, a segment Green-Kerr has successfully cultivated at Sprint for more than two decades. Now, as vice president and general manager of the Overland Park, Kansas–based telecom giant’s SMB division, she’s pushing mobility-as-a-service, voice and collaboration solutions, and lightning-fast LTE Plus access. “We’re making business pricing simpler than ever and ensuring we continue to meet the needs of today’s mobile workforce,” said Green-Kerr earlier this year in a release.
Vice President of Commercial & Digital Thread, General Electric Digital
Although retired since 2003, General Electric’s long-running slogan, “We bring good things to life,” aptly describes Gutowski’s role at the multinational, where, since February, she’s been striving to revitalize a massive sales force of more than 25,000 employees across nearly 200 countries. Working closely with the 125-year-old company’s IT department to incubate new technologies—from artificial intelligence to predictive analytics and then some—the 20-year GE veteran is aiming for nothing short of a digital transformation at one of North America’s largest companies while partnering with chief executives to rapidly scale state-of-the-art sales technology for a far-flung global workforce. “Around the world, the sales function is about to go through the biggest transformation in the history of selling,” said Gutowski, based at the company’s Boston headquarters. “My job is to lead this change globally at GE.”