Dell, NetApp and Palo Alto Networks Executives to Headline 2016 Best of Breed Conference

WESTBOROUGH, Mass., August 4, 2016 - Three high-profile, technology industry executives are slated for keynote interviews at The Channel Company’s 2016 Best of Breed Conference ( in Atlanta, Ga: Marius Haas, chief commercial officer and president of Enterprise Solutions at Dell; George Kurian, CEO of NetApp; and Mark McLaughlin, chairman, president and CEO of Palo Alto Networks. Robert Faletra, CEO of The Channel Company, will interview each of the three chief executives in a live, onstage discussion about the state of the technology industry from an IT channel perspective.

All three executives are deftly navigating major changes in the IT channel and helping to shape its future on multiple fronts—the steady stream of hugely disruptive technologies, the widespread transition to a recurring revenue business model and the emergence of fierce new competition, among others. Haas, Kurian and McLaughlin’s determined response to these challenges make them a perfect fit with the theme of this year’s Best of Breed Conference: “Disrupt, Innovate & Grow: Innovating in a Time of Chaos.”

Haas has played a key role in growing Dell’s enterprise server, storage and networking business as the company transitions from a PC-dominated business model to one that turns on enterprise computing. More importantly, as the tech giant moves closer to finalizing its $60 billion acquisition of leading storage company EMC and becoming the largest company in high tech, Haas is overseeing sales for the soon-to-be combined company, integration of EMC’s partner accounts into Dell’s existing channel program and the structure of its go-to-market sales structure moving forward. Haas will be onstage to answer questions surrounding the acquisition and what it means to the partner community. He has pledged to actively support and engage existing EMC partners, promoting their growth and incentivizing them to pick up Dell product lines.

NetApp’s new CEO, George Kurian, who previously served as executive vice president of product operations, is spearheading the company’s innovative strategy connecting physical and virtual all-flash storage across on-premise and cloud infrastructures. Kurian was responsible for the storage company’s positively regarded 2015 acquisition of flash storage array startup SolidFire ( and oversaw the product road map and engineering execution for its proprietary Data ONTAP Operating System. Kurian’s NetApp is a direct competitor of EMC and now faces the task of competing against the larger Dell Technologies. He will be on stage answering questions for his vision of the future and how he will compete and leverage the channel moving forward.

Palo Alto Networks CEO Mark McLaughlin has led the next-generation security powerhouse to major milestones in the white-hot security space. Growing fiscal-year 2015 revenue 55 percent year over year to $928.1 million and adding more than 1,000 customers each quarter for the last 18 quarters, McLaughlin has been pushing the envelope on growth. The company went public under McLaughlin’s leadership in 2012, earning it $260 million,1 and has been listed as a leader in Gartner’s annual Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls every year since McLaughlin joined the company in 2011.

“Haas, Kurian and McLaughlin are among the most accomplished and innovative executives leading the IT channel forward,” said Faletra. “All three are solidly committed to guiding their organizations through the complex and fast-changing rapids of today’s channel—finding nimble, creative new ways of meeting unprecedented technological challenges and keeping pace with partners’ evolving needs. I look forward to engaging them on the most pressing issues facing not only their own organizations, but their partner channel organizations. We will explore new technology opportunities and challenges around cloud, IoT, security, new IT services and the future of the data center. I also hope to get their perspectives on the recent emergence of the Strategic Service Provider and how this new breed of solution provider is reshaping the leaders’ go-to-market strategies.”

This year’s Best of Breed Conference will take place October 24-25 in Atlanta, Ga., hosting top industry executives from CRN®'s ( Tech Elite 250, Next-Gen 250, Solution Provider 500, Fast Growth 150 and Managed Service Provider 500 communities. Each year, attendees gather to discuss the changing channel ecosystem, attend presentations by numerous renowned IT thought leaders, network with executive peers and learn about the latest technologies and market trends from prominent CIOs. The Best of Breed Conference is the only high-profile event dedicated to examining the current business challenges, strategies and thought leadership running through the technology industry through the lens of the IT channel.

To learn more about the 2016 Best of Breed Conference, register or become a sponsor, please visit

About The Channel Company

The Channel Company enables breakthrough IT channel performance with our dominant media, engaging events, expert consulting and education, and innovative marketing services and platforms. As the channel catalyst, we connect and empower technology suppliers, solution providers and end users. Backed by more than 30 years of unequaled channel experience, we draw from our deep knowledge to envision innovative new solutions for ever-evolving challenges in the technology marketplace.

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