The Software Report is pleased to announce the Top 25 Software Product Executives of 2020. Some of the largest and most reputable software companies nominated their product heads. We were impressed with the number and caliber of candidates put forth. Each nominee was evaluated across a number of categories including product track record, breadth of capabilities, leadership and promoting a positive working environment among other factors. The Software Report also conducted candidate evaluation based on company competitiveness within the broader software industry and how the individual compared to the most exceptional executives.
It gives us great pleasure to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of these deserving executives in the demanding field of software development.
1. Panos Panay, Microsoft
Panos Panay is Microsoft’s Chief Product Officer, focusing on Windows and Tablets. It manages the Devices concept and approach, which includes the development, supply chain and manufacturing of all Microsoft hardware.Panay cites his creation of Surface the highlight of his career and an experience that continues to motivate not only him but also his team to create new categories of devices to help Microsoft customers change the world. He oversees products within the company that spans everything from Xbox to HoloLens. Panay’s team combines all aspects of art, science, and innovation to create products that transform the way people work, design, and learn. He joined the company in 2004 as Group Program Manager of PC Hardware. He rose the ranks to serve several roles, including General Manager of Surface and PC Hardware, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Devices, and his current role as Chief Product Officer. Prior to joining Microsoft, Panay was the Group Program Manager of Electromechanical Devices at NMB Technologies where he was responsible for the development of keyboards, speakers, and electromechanical devices.
2. Thomas Saueressig, SAP
Thomas Saueressig is a Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE for SAP Product Engineering. In this role, he has global responsibility for all business software applications, which includes all functional areas from product strategy and management to product development and innovation as well as product delivery and support. Saueressig also oversees a portfolio that consists of the SAP S/4HANA suite, SAP Digital Supply Chain, SME, and industry solutions. In addition to this, he leads SAP Product Engineering and is responsible for cloud offerings such as SAP Ariba, SAP Concur, SAP Fieldglass, SAP SuccessFactors, and SAP Customer Experience. Saueressig is also in charge of all development cross-functions at SAP, comprising the global SAP Labs Network, SAP Knowledge & Education, Globalization Services, and SAP User Experience, as well as the overall quality of SAP software products. Notably, Saueressig began his career at SAP and during his 15 year tenure has held several roles, including Business Process Consultant, Senior Vice President and Global Head of IT Services, and Chief Information Officer.
3. Gerald Wight, Google
Gerald Wight is the Senior Vice President of Product Management at Google. In his current role, Wight develops the next generation of products and services for the tech giant. Wight’s 13-year tenure began in 2007, where he led product management for the company’s other offerings, including Google Maps and Location Services. This year, Google Maps celebrated 15 years of navigating people in the digital age. It currently boasts more than 1 billion monthly active users, has mapped over 220 countries and territories, and offers live traffic updates in 171 countries. Wight now oversees those bringing to fruition new products and features bound to impact millions of users every day. With over 32 years of experience, the seasoned executive has held several prominent roles, most notably Vice President of Product Innovation at SAP where he spent eight years. Here, he was an SAP NetWeaver Product/Solution Manager focused on custom development, particularly in ABAP, master data management APIs, user interface technologies, and NetWeaver Voice. He began his career with a ten-year-long tenure at Warner Brothers as a software engineer.
4. Anamita Guha, IBM
Anamita Guha is the Global Lead of Product Management at IBM. Guha initially joined IBM in 2017 as Founding Product Manager of IBM Watson’s Developer Labs & AR/VR Labs, where she led a team of product managers and engineers to strategically create IBM Watson products, platforms, and experiences for developers. Driven by her goal to bridge the gap between artificial intelligence and quantum computing, the data-driven product manager builds the framework to make quantum computers accessible via the cloud. An industry thought leader specializing in the future of computing, data, and technology ethics, as well as AI, Guha is often sought after to speak on these topics. She recently became an AAAS IF/THEN Ambassador, where she advocates for women in STEM. Before joining IBM, Guha was a Fellow at On Deck, a Product Manager of Analytics and Integrations at ON24, Product Manager of New Product Innovation at NativeX, and spent almost three years as a Research Assistant at UC Berkeley. Previously she was a Co-Founder at Excelerate Test Prep, a Corporate Fuel and Energy Intern, and began her career as an Extern at Palo Alto Medical Foundation.
5. Amy Peters, SAS
Amy Peters is the Product Manager at SAS, the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Established in 1976, the North Carolina-based firm has helped customers at more than 70,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Peters has been a pivotal part of the company for over 32 years. She joined SAS in 1987 as a Technical Training Specialist. Over the years, she’s held various roles including Senior Manager of Education Customer Service and Training and Technical Services Manager. During her time as Principal Product Manager, Peters has managed a portfolio that spans SAS Studio, SAS University Edition, and SAS Enterprise Guide. In her current role, she oversees classic pragmatic product management, internal networks, and SAS programmers. Along with her commitment to SAS, Peters volunteers at the Duke Technology Scholars Program as a Mentor and is the Treasurer at the Oriental Dinghy Club. Before joining SAS, she was at DataFlow as an Instructor and an Account Manager at Management Science America.
6. Bret Taylor, Salesforce
Bret Taylor is the President and Chief Operating Officer of Salesforce’s global product vision, overseeing engineering, security, marketing, and communications. He is highly regarded as a rising star and inventor of influential technologies. Notably, Taylor has had increasing responsibilities during his tenure at Salesforce. Most recently, he was the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Quip, the innovative collaboration platform Salesforce acquired in 2016. Prior to founding Quip, he served as the Chief Technology Officer of Facebook and saw the company through its successful IPO in 2012. He is also credited with being the inventor of the “Like” button. Taylor joined Facebook in 2009 after it acquired his social networking company, FriendFeed for $50 million. He also co-wrote and continues to maintain the Tornado web server, software created at FriendFeed that was open-sourced following its acquisition. Before FriendFeed, Taylor was at Google where he co-created Google Maps as well as Google Maps API. Today, Taylor is a Twitter Board Member and was previously a Board Member at Axon between 2014 and 2019.
7. Sanga Viswanathan, Oracle
Sanga Viswanathan is the Senior Vice President of Product Development of Oracle. Founded in 1977, Oracle offers a comprehensive and fully integrated stack of cloud applications and platform services. Since joining the company in 2015, Sanga has gone from General Manager and Global Vice President of Product Development to being appointed the senior role in 2019. In his current position, Sanga leads a team of over 600 engineers and product managers and is responsible for all aspects of the business, including cloud operations (SRE), support, and quality. Notably, he is the founding Chief Technology Officer of Oracle Digital Assistant & AI Services platform, which Sanga built from the ground up to a team of more than 150 engineers. Previously, Sanga was the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of CoStack. This conversational AI platform stack combined machine learning, natural language understanding, and robotic process automation to help automate enterprise business processes. Before this, he founded Shopperly, a customer data platform for commerce where he was the Chief Executive Officer. Sanga also spent a decade at Adobe, most recently as the Head of Data and Social Platform, where he led product and engineering for data, social, and experience cloud products.
8. Akshay Bhargava, Malwarebytes
Akshay Bhargava is the Chief Product Officer at Malwarebytes, anti-malware software for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS that finds and eliminates malware from devices. Bhargava brings nearly 20 years of experience in product, go-to-market, and engineering leadership to the company. In this role, he is responsible for driving the company’s technology vision, product roadmap, and execution. In addition to this, the industry veteran has a proven track record of proven leadership and driving successful product roadmaps. Under Bhargava’s leadership, Malwarebytes has won multiple awards and designations. Previously, Bhargava was the Vice President of the Oracle Cloud Business Group. In this role, he led various aspects of Oracle Cloud across IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. He also headed the launch of Oracle Cloud Services for Security and Management. Prior to Oracle, Bhargava was a management consultant for McKinsey & Company, where he worked with numerous C-suites and boards on topics related to product, strategy, cybersecurity, and GTM. He has also held roles at FireEye, Network Appliance, and was the Engineering Manager at Rainfinity, which was acquired by EMC.
9. Burley Kawasaki, K2
Burley Kawasaki is the Chief Product Officer of K2, the intuitive, cloud-based digital process automation platform by SourceCode Technology Holdings. In this role, Kawasaki is tasked with evolving how K2 facilitates enterprises to drive digital transformation by redesigning methods that improve customer experiences. He is responsible for K2’s product innovation, design, and development. Kawasaki has more than 25 years of experience in the enterprise technology sector, as well as profound industry knowledge. Prior to K2, he served as the Executive Vice President of product at Kony which was a leading platform in the low-code mobile and web application development market. In this role, he led Kony’s product management, engineering, user experience, and strategy for the global software organization. Before this, he was the Vice President of Software and Cloud Services of Avanade, Director of Product Management at Microsoft, Vice President of Solutions, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer at Equarius, and spent eight years at Accenture.
10. Greg Genung, deepwatch
Greg Genung is the Product Strategy Leader at deepwatch, the Denver Colorado-based security services provider powered by its SecOps platform. With over 16 years of experience across IT, cybersecurity, and startup leadership roles, Genung has a proven track record of providing successful leadership, optimizing security operations, and creating holistic cybersecurity programs. Prior to joining deepwatch in 2019, Genung was a Principal Consultant at PaySkill and a Senior Manager of Technical Strategy at Rackspace where he was responsible for shaping, building, and executing the long-term RMS portfolio and growth strategy. Genung was also one of the founding members of the Retail-ISAC (R-CISC) as the first employee of the DHS-backed threat intelligence sharing center. He has held a number of roles at 21CT, Praetorian, Denim Group, NCI, TechTurn, and PHMY. Ultimately, what drives this industry thought leader is his fascination with building safe and healthy interactions between humans and machines as well as facilitating privacy and a more secure future
11. Todd Haycock, Broadridge
Todd Haycock is the Vice President of Product Management at Broadridge, a provider of investor communications and technology solutions for broker-dealers, banks, mutual funds, and corporate issuers. Haycock is responsible for Broadridge’s postal products and services and relationship with the USPS, serving as an advocate to ensure customers receive the full benefits, discounts, and options available. Broadridge has served as an initial pilot site for many USPS initiatives, such as Manifest Mailing, Transportation Management System (TMS), and Seamless Acceptance. This year, it was announced that Haycock was elected as president of the Major Mailers Association. This forum represents the common interest of major first-class mailers and ensures fair postage rates. Before this, he was the Senior Solutions Engineer at TransCentra, which was acquired by Exela Technologies. He previously held roles as a Product Manager at Regulus, Director of Business Development Services at Accudocs, and New Business Development Manager at International Billing Services.
12. Andrea Kowalski, Kareo
Andrea Kowalski is the Vice President of Product at Kareo, the Irvine, California-based provider of cloud software, helping independent practices succeed in an ever-changing healthcare market by allowing them to run more efficiently while providing outstanding patient care. In this role, Andrea is responsible for leading the product and integrated platform strategy, overseeing the entire product lifecycle and driving forward with delivering customer-focused solutions. With experience in developing and leading product management teams, defining strategic product vision and roadmap, achieving business objectives through product execution, and developing a customer-focused culture, Andrea brings a passionate problem-solving mindset to Kareo. Driven by improving healthcare through disruptive innovation, she believes in delivering cutting-edge solutions while driving business results. Andrea joined the company in 2018 from athenahealth, where she developed over eight years of experience advancing their clinical product for the ambulatory and hospital market. Prior to her tenure at athenahealth, Andrea was at Citigroup developing innovative electronic trading solutions.
13. Leslie Brown, Dimension Data
Leslie Brown is the Director of Product Management at Dimension Data, a global technology integrator and managed services provider that helps accelerate its clients’ business ambitions. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dimension is a member of the NTT Group and offers consulting, support, and technical services through digital infrastructure, hybrid cloud, workspaces for tomorrow, and cybersecurity. Brown has been with the company as the Director of Product Management for over eight years. Prior to this role, she was the Implementation Manager of Invoice Insight (now known as Xigo), an expense management provider that was acquired by Dimension Data in 2012, when Brown joined the company in her current position. Previously she was a Project Manager at TMA Resources, a leading provider of software to associations and non profits, that recently changed its name to Personify.
14. Jeff Reed, Cisco
Jeff Reed is the Senior Vice President of Product for Cisco’s Security Business. In this role, he leads product management, customer success, and technical marketing for the company’s security portfolio. He joined Cisco in 2010 as Senior Vice President of Enterprise Networks, where he was Responsible for $16 billion in product and solution revenue across networking infrastructure, SDN, and management applications. Prior to that, Reed oversaw the company’s SDN solutions and architectures for enterprise customers. He has also been the General Manager for Cisco’s largest switching business unit, the Unified Access Group. Before joining Cisco, Reed spent almost 10-years at Symantec most recently as Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Vice President and General Manager of Clustered Storage. Previously he was the President of BestOffer.com and a Consultant at Monitor Group. He also served as president and co-founder of an e-commerce start-up.
15. Andrei Florescu, Bitdefender
Andrei Florescu is the Director of Product Management, Datacenter at Bitdefender. Headquartered in Bucharest, Romania Bitdefender is a global security technology company that’s been providing advanced threat protection to both business customers and consumers since 2001. Today, the company is trusted in over 150 countries as it works with governments, organizations, SMEs, and the most prominent enterprises in the world. In his current role at Bitdefender, Florescu leads and oversees enterprise-focused product management projects with continued engagement in large customer deployments and strategic alliances. His decade-long tenure began in 2010 when he joined the company as a Professional Services Engineer before becoming Senior Solutions Architect, and then Group Product Manager of Datacenter before being appointed the Director of Product Management. Under Florescu’s leadership, Bitdefender introduced more revenue-generating capabilities and integrations in datacenter and cloud security in a year than in the preceding three. Before moving into his current role, Florescu held various customer-facing technology positions. With numerous industry certifications centered on security, virtualization, and cloud, Florescu is also a certified Electronics Engineer.
16. Sahir Azam, MongoDB
Sahir Azam is the Chief Product Officer at MongoDB, the most popular database for modern apps. In his current role, Azam is responsible for product management, growth marketing, and operations, as well as GTM strategy across the MongoDB portfolio. Azam joined the company in 2016 as Vice President of Cloud Products and GTM, and then went on to become Senior Vice President of Cloud Products and GTM. Here he led MongoDB’s cloud products and go-to-market strategy ahead of the launch of Atlas, helping grow the cloud business from conception to over $150 million annually. Prior to MongoDB, Azam helped lead Sumo Logic, a SaaS machine-data analytics company, where he managed platform, pricing, packaging, and technology partnerships. Before Sumo Logic, he was the Director of Cloud Management Strategy and Evangelism at VMware where he launched the company’s first organically developed SaaS management product and helped grow the management tools business to over $1 billion in revenue. Azam has also held various roles at DynamicOps, BMC Software, BladeLogic, and Webair. He currently serves as an Advisor at Confluent and as an Advisor and Mentor at Alchemist Accelerator.
17. Timothy Young, Dropbox
Timothy Young is the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dropbox Core. In this role, he manages all the Dropbox core business units, including products and services for individuals, teams, and enterprises. He oversees the teams responsible for improving the core product experience for its customers, including Dropbox Spaces and its mobile, web, and desktop apps. These business units also include the company’s product, engineering, design, research, and analytic groups. An experienced technologist, product leader, and entrepreneur, Young joined the San Francisco company in 2019. Previously the Vice President of Product and Engineering at VMware, Young managed and ran numerous global engineering and product teams within VMware’s End-User Computing and Mobile Computing business units. He was also previously an Adjunct Professor at UC Irvine teaching Edge, a course that explores how technology and globalization are transforming the business landscape. Young was the Founder of Socialcast, which was acquired by VMware in May 2011. He was also the Co-Founder of about.me, which was later acquired by AOL in Dec 2010.
18. Mike Koetting, Concur
Mike Koetting is the Chief Product Strategy Officer at SAP Concur, developing travel management software and solutions. Koetting joined SAP Concur in 2010 and was appointed the position in June 2019. In this role, he is responsible for the strategy of the company’s portfolio of travel, expense, and invoice management products and services. In addition, Mike is responsible for SAP Concur Travel Supplier and TMC Services organizations. He manages the relationships with travel suppliers, GDSs, and TMC resellers and fulfillment partners and provides the world’s leading travel agency automation technology, Compleat. Notably, Koetting is one of the original architects of Concur TripLink, a global network of connected suppliers. Previously, he was the Chief Operating Officer for North America at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Senior Vice President of Maritz Corporate Travel, and Senior Auditor of Price Waterhouse. As a frequent moderator and speaker at the Global Business Travel Association’s annual conferences in the US and Europe and other industry events, Koetting serves on the advisory boards of Business Travel News and The Beat.
19. Eric Han, NetApp
Eric Han is the Vice President of Product Management at NetApp, the hybrid cloud data services and data management company headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. In this role, he has led all product related functions for Cloud Data Services as the company transitions towards being a data management organization with its Kubernetes vision, Project Astra. Han joined the company in 2019 from Portworx, where he spent four years as Senior Director of Product Management and then Vice President of Product Management. Prior to this, Han was at Google as its Product Manager of Container Engine – which he was the co-founder of – and was the first Product Manager for Kubernetes and Google Cloud’s first release in container technologies. Previously he was at Microsoft for over a decade serving as its Program Manager before being appointed Senior Product and Program Manager of Desktop Virtualization. Han has also been a Fellow of the Board of Trustees at the World Affairs Council, where he focused on growth in new markets and the nonprofit’s technical strategy.
20. Bill Staples, New Relic
Bill Staples is the Chief Product Officer at New Relic, a San Francisco, California-based cloud software platform that helps website and application owners track the performances of their services. In this role, Staples is responsible for driving the company’s market-leading platform strategy and leading New Relic’s product management, engineering, and design functions. Staples is an execution-focused leader who is driven to build and scale cloud-based businesses. He joined New Relic from Adobe, where he led the global engineering team of more than 1,500 employees to oversee Adobe’s market-leading Experience Cloud. Prior to this, he spent 17 years at Microsoft in a number of product leadership roles, most recently as the Corporate Vice President of Azure Application Platform. Notably, he invented, launched, and scaled the Azure App Service, Power Apps, and Power Automate services for citizen developers, as well as the Microsoft video streaming platform which powers Azure and Office 365 video services. He successfully led transformative products at both companies, engineering culture changes, and technical innovation agendas, helping them embrace cloud-first principles to accelerate business growth.
21. Shay Mowlem, Rubrik
Shay Mowlem is the Senior Vice President of Product and Strategy at Rubrik, the Palo Alto-based cloud data management provider. In this role, Mowlem is responsible for driving Rubrik’s global product vision, design and development, and strategy. On a mission to simplify how organizations around the world keep, protect, and use their data, Mowlem is a driving force behind the strategy and success of some of the industry’s most notable enterprise software companies. Mowlem has more than 20 years of experience in enterprise software and product development. He previously served as Chief Marketing Officer at Mulesoft, a Salesforce Company, which provides the most widely used integration platform for connecting SaaS and enterprise applications in the cloud and on-premises. Before Mulesoft, Mowlem held executive product and marketing positions at Splunk. Here, he rapidly helped the company scale up its leadership team and elevated its place in the technology industry. Before this, he held roles spanning product and marketing leadership roles at CA Technologies, Opsware (acquired by HP), and Portal Software (acquired by Oracle).
22. Phil Gurbacki, DataRobot
Phil Gurbacki is the Senior Vice President of Product and Customer Experience at DataRobot, the Boston-based automated machine learning platform making it easy to build and deploy accurate predictive models. Armed with a passion for building and developing new machine learning and artificial intelligence software products to the market, Gurbacki has proven to be adept at leading overall product development from conception to launch. Regarded as a visionary thought leader, he is renowned for his expertise in combining market requirements, driving agile software development teams, and his proven track record of consistently delivering high market value results. Gurbacki joined the company in 2016 as Vice President of Product Management, where he oversaw vision, strategy, product management, design, and marketing for DataRobot’s automated machine learning product portfolio before being promoted to his current position in 2019. Prior to this, Gurbacki was the Senior Product Manager of Intel, the Research and Development Manager of Scientific Monitoring (which was acquired by Intel in 2012), and a Development Engineer at Moog. Earlier in his career, he was at Impact Technologies, as Project Engineer where Gurbacki designed and developed diagnostics & prognostics algorithms.
23. Ciaran Dynes, Talend
Ciaran Dynes is the Senior Vice President of Products at Talend, the Redwood City California-based open-source data integration platform. In this role, he oversees the design of cutting edge open-source integration technologies. Dynes is also responsible for Product Marketing and Product Management, including Talend’s Big Data products. He joined the company in 2011 as Senior Director of Product Management and Product Marketing before being appointed Vice President of Products and Senior Vice President of Products in 2017. With over 15 years of experience in leading and developing teams of highly technical professionals as well as with the development and implementation of product strategies impacting organizations on all levels, Dynes is recognized as a leader in big data and cloud integration, having worked with some of the world’s largest enterprises. Before Talend, Dynes held several roles, including as a Consultant at Sopera, Director of Product Management at Progress Software, and Director of Product Management at IONA Technologies.
24. Nickie Peters, Logicalis
Nickie Peters is the Senior Product Marketing Manager at Logicalis, the UK-based leading provider of global IT solutions and managed services. In this role, Peters is responsible for maintaining the Logicalis US services portfolio brand, as well as the training and enablement strategies. While she was appointed as Senior Product Marketing Manager in 2018, Peters first joined the company back in 2006 and spent eleven years as the Director of Marketing, where she focused on Managed Service Cloud Computing in Green Bay, Wisconsin. In this role, Peters worked closely with the solutions team to bring new products to market, enable the sales team, and develop content that aligns with the buyer’s journey. She left the company in 2016 to join SRC Technologies as Marketing Director where she served for a year before returning to Logicalis in 2018. Before this, Peters was a Marketing Advisor at The Bug Blaster for fifteen years and spent eight years as the Director of Marketing at Computech Resources.
25. Satish Kanwar, Shopify
Satish Kanwar is the General Manager and Vice President of Product and Channels at Shopify, the user-friendly Canadian e-commerce giant. In his current role, he oversees the growth and development of retail and multi-channel shopping experiences for over one million merchants around the world. Notably, Kanwar led the company’s strategic expansion from online stores to multi-channel commerce, and formed partnerships with Facebook, Google, and Apple, amongst others. Shortly after starting with Shopify in 2013 as Director of Operations, Kanwar helped create the company’s very first ‘buy’ button for social media. Since he joined, the company has grown its merchant base by almost ten times across 175 countries. Previously, Kanwar co-founded Jet Cooper, a user experience agency that provided strategy, design, and development services to leading technology startups and brands in North America. Jet Cooper is involved with local communities such as TEDxToronto, Lean Coffee Toronto, Dribbble Toronto, and Startup Weekend Toronto. In 2013, Jet Cooper was acquired by Shopify in order to establish its product development footprint in Toronto.