The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2019

The Software Report is pleased to announce the Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2019.  These accomplished executives lead some of the largest companies in the world and have built a career based on consistent achievement in the field of technology.  This year's awardees were selected based on nominations as well as a close evaluation of each candidate's professional experience, depth of expertise, caliber of organization and overall impact on the software industry.  Please join us in recognizing this year's awardees.


1. Sanjay Brahmawar, Software AG
Location: Darmstadt, Germany
Category: Enterprise Infrastructure

Sanjay Brahmawar is CEO and Management Board Chairman of Software AG, a German enterprise software company that serves over 10,000 customers worldwide. One of the first innovators in database management systems, Software AG has been active in the global software markets since 1969. Since 2018, Brahmawar has been at the company’s helm, leading the company into a “new era of digitalization.” Currently, the company provides enterprise infrastructure tools like its original database management platform Adabas, and newer innovations in areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT).

Brahmawar brings over twenty years of tech executive experience to his leadership role at Software AG. Previously, he was the general manager of global revenue for IBM’s Watson IoT, managing AI and data analytics software development. Before joining IBM as an associate partner in 2004, Brahmawar cut his teeth in business management in India, Denmark, and Belgium, creating his persona as a “citizen of the world.” He holds an MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Leeds, as well as a degree from the Delhi College of Engineering.


2. Bernard Charles, Dassault Systems
Location: Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Category: Design Solutions

Bernard Charles has been a long time leader of Dassault Systems, a leading provider of design software solutions and virtual experiences. The company serves an astonishing 230,000 customers of all sizes across all industries in more than 140 countries. Dassault Systems is well known for its ability to streamline the way products are designed, produced and supported. Its product portfolio includes 3Dexperience, the Compass Logo, 3DS logo, CATIA, SOLIDWORKS, ENOVIA, DELMIA and many others.

Charles first joined Dassault in 1982 and since then has steadily assumed more responsibility earning the trust of the now more than 16,000 person strong organization. Charles was appointed president and CEO of Dassault in 1995 and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors in May 2016. He has a long list of achievements with the company beginning in 1986 when he founded a dedicated New Technologies, Research & Development, and Strategy department all the way to 2012 when he launched the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, broadening the scope of digitization and simulation. Today, Dassault Systems is a world leader in 3D software and considered a global top-ten software company.


3. Steve Hare, Sage
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Category: Small and Medium Sized Business

At $2 billion of annual revenue, Sage is a formidable competitor in the software industry – particularly when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses. CEO Steve Hare knows the organization well and is no stranger to instituting transformational growth practices for corporations. He joined the company in 2014, having previously served as Operating Partner and Co-Head of the Portfolio Support Group at private equity giant Apax Partners, which he had joined in 2009.

Sage is considered a global leader in its space and is trusted by millions of customers worldwide. It delivers the best cloud technology and support helping businesses to manage their finances, operations and people. The organization is comprised of over 13,000 professionals. Earlier in his career, Hare led the finance function for three listed UK companies culminating in his role as CFO for FTSE 100 company Invensys, the global technology-related business. He got his professional start as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Whinney in 1985.


4. Øystein Moan, Visma
Location: Oslo, Norway
Category: Business Solutions

Since 1997, Øystein Moan has served as the CEO of Visma, a privately-held business software provider based in Oslo, Norway. Under his watch, the company has grown to an enterprise value of over €6.5 billion and one of Europe’s leading software providers. Visma offers a wide variety of cloud-based platforms designed for small/medium sized businesses and larger enterprises, offering software for HR, invoicing, accounting, resource planning, and more. The company employs over 11,000 across offices in 20 countries, and in 2019 reported revenue in excess of  €1.5 billion.

Moan has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Oslo, but his practical experience spans four decades. After founding the Nordic network integrator CINet SA in 1986, Visma was created in 1997 and primarily served a marine shipping division. After divesting the marine division, the company’s scope broadened to serving Nordic businesses with even more business software resources. Moan is a strong believer in the future of cloud technology and expects it to drive the future of global commerce, and plans to continue expanding Visma beyond Europe.


5. Ralf Baumann, StepStone
Location: Berlin, Germany
Category: Recruitment Solutions

Ralf Bauman is the CEO of the German company StepStone, a leading job search marketplace in Germany and surrounding countries. As an executive, Baumann thrives on customer and employee feedback and is committed to improving his company for everyone involved, users and shareholders alike. Under his guidance, StepStone has grown to serve over 60,000 employers in their recruitment efforts, matching thousands of applicants with jobs in Germany and elsewhere across industries. Today, Baumann’s company boasts an annual revenue of €735 million.

With nearly forty years of experience in enterprise software solutions, Baumann has worked with HR software, personnel administration, and customer service. Before joining StepStone in 2002, Baumann served as the Sales, Marketing and Alliances Director at PeopleSoft Germany. He also previously held executive positions at major software companies including Siebel Systems, and multinational enterprise software giant SAP. Baumann is an alumnus of the Technical University of Darmstadt.


6. Klaus Holse, SimCorp
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Category: Investment Software

Klaus Holse is CEO of Denmark’s SimCorp, a world-leading provider of integrated investment management solutions. Since 2012, Holse has led the financial software and services company responsible for the SimCorp Dimension Platform, which has evolved over the years into a world-class investment management product. Thanks to the leadership of Holse, the company has formed a strategic partnership with IBM, offering Dimension as a service within their Enterprise Cloud, as well as providing SimCorp with invaluable infrastructure resources.
SimCorp showed impressive growth in 2019, boasting a revenue exceeding €450 million, an increase of over 15% from the previous fiscal year.

As an executive, Holse brings plenty of high-profile experience to his position, counting Microsoft and Oracle among his previous employers. Additionally, he has served as a board chairman for Zenegy APS and Lessor A/S, and is currently Chairman of the Board for Delegate, an IT consultant company. Holse has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a diploma in Business Administration from Copenhagen Business School.


7. Mike Ettling, Unit4
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Category: ERP / HCM

South Africa-native Mike Ettling is CEO of Unit4 Software, an international leader in enterprise resource planning and human capital management software solutions built for services organizations. The company’s cloud-based suite is built on the Unit4 People Platform, the microservices-based SaaS architecture that delivers innovative professional software to non-profit and educational organizations, among other service sectors. With Ettling at the helm, Unit4 is committed to the constant improvement of its service-centric software solutions, as well as maintaining a positive and productive working environment within.

Before joining Unit4, Ettling was President of SAP Success Factors, the multinational corporation’s Human Capital Management software division. Ettling boasts nearly twenty years of management experience with companies such as NorthgateArinso and Unisys. The business-savvy executive is also an experienced investor, supporting smaller software companies like Upflex and AppLearn. Ettling holds dual bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Accounting from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, as well as a Master’s in Finance from London Business School.


8. Andrew Kirkwood, BluJay Solutions
Location: Manchester, UK
Category: Supply Chain Management

Andrew Kirkwood is an energetic and strategic thinker, serving as the CEO of BluJay Solutions, a leader in network solutions and supply chain management for the transportation industry. Since 1974, BluJay has been guiding the way freight is moved throughout Europe and North America thanks to its software solutions and superior networking. BluJay delivers a suite of supply chain software and services to clients varying from retailers, distributors, manufacturers, and more, and its Global Transportation Network unlocks the power of over 40,000 universally connected partners.

In January 2019, Kirkwood joined the BluJay team as CEO, bringing over 25 years of supply chain management and software innovation to the role. He spent the previous six years as Senior Vice President of Supply Chain Execution at JDA Software of London, overseeing product development and management teams as they rolled out innovative Cloud and Edge technologies. He was also SVP of Sales for Red Prairie, acquired by JDA in 2012, where he led the EMEA sales region. Kirkwood has a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography from the University of Portsmouth.


9. Andrei Baronov, Veeam Software
Location: Baar, Switzerland
Category: Data Backup and Recovery

Andrei Baronov is the CEO and a co-founder of Veeam Software, a leader in cloud data management and backup solutions based in Baar, Switzerland. Baronov started the company in 2006 with Ratmir Timashev, and in 2008 Veeam released its first product, the Backup and Recovery platform that has become the cornerstone of its suite of data protection essentials. Using Veeam’s advanced Availability Orchestrator, companies can enable automation processes in the event of an unexpected interruption, providing unparalleled business continuation and disaster recovery solutions.

Alongside his partner Timashev, Baronov has been driving the growth of his company since the beginning, serving as CEO since restructuring in 2017. His experience in systems management is a catalyst for the company’s research and development, resulting in a robust and widely-used array of data management products. Before founding Veeam, Baronov and Timashev started and grew Aelita Software into a top player in network management and security software before being acquired by its main competitor, Quest Software, for $115 million. Baronov holds both a Ph.D. and a Master’s degree in Mathematics and Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.


10. Marc Murphy, Fenergo
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Category: Client Lifecycle Management

Since its inception in 2009, Fenergo has been led by founder and CEO Marc Murphy, who oversees the company’s operational strategy and corporate direction. For ten years, Fenergo has been a leader in software solutions and data management for the banking industry.
For financial institutions, Client Lifecycle Management (CLM) is a tedious necessity, including adherence to “Know Your Customer” (KYC) regulations and onboarding new customers. Murphy’s company is also a pioneer in Anti Money Laundering (AML) solutions for financial organizations, an essential component in today’s global economy.

An industry veteran, Murphy has almost twenty years of experience in developing, selling and delivering enterprise financial technology to global banks. Prior to incorporating Fenergo, he spent several years in software development and sales management with Ergo, a notable Irish IT systems company. He is a recognized leader in the fintech industry and has led his company in multiple successful rounds of funding. Marc is a graduate of Dublin City University where he received a bachelor’s degree in software engineering as well as an MBA.


11. Pierre Cesarini, Claranova
Location: Paris, France
Category: Consumer and Business Solutions

Since 2013, Pierre Cesarini has served as CEO of Claranova Group, a global provider of consumer software and business solutions. The company boasts revenue of over €262 million, a growth of 62% over the previous fiscal year. When Cesarini arrived to the company, it was Avanquest, a 30-year-old French software company in need of modernization. Under his charge, the company underwent a full reorganization and recapitalization, refocusing its resources on new technologies and innovative business models, emerging as the new organization, Claranova Group. As CEO, Cesarini has focused the company on three distinct areas of expertise: Internet, Mobile Services, and Internet of Things (IoT).

Before his radical transformation of Claranova, Cesarini began his career with a ten-year stint as a marketing director for Apple. In 1998, he founded TempoSoft, offering optimized workplace management systems for enterprises around the world, and in 2005 his company was acquired by tech titan Oracle. Cesarini holds an Engineering Degree from Telecom Paris, specializing in Operating Systems and Artificial Intelligence.


12. Dieter Schlosser, SoftwareONE
Location: Stans, Switzerland
Category: Software Lifecycle Management

Early in 2019, Dieter Schlosser became the newest CEO of SoftwareONE after serving as COO since 2012. Headquartered in Switzerland, SoftwareONE is a world-leading provider of end-to-end software and cloud-technology solutions, managing software licenses and cloud subscriptions for around 65,000 enterprises. The PyraCloud platform is renowned as a software management system, providing users with beneficial visibility and insights that save businesses money. Under Schlosser’s leadership, SoftwareONE has substantially enhanced the scale, efficiency, and profile of its global software and cloud-technology solutions.

Schlosser is a veteran executive armed with a degree in Business Management from Germany’s VWA Stuttgart. Prior to joining SoftwareONE, he was a VP of Operations for BHP Billiton, an international natural resources company. He started his career with various positions within Daimler AG, including managing its international network systems, and later oversaw the transformation of the entire IT infrastructure for Swiss holding company DKSH.


13. Silvio Kutic, Infobip
Location: Zagreb, Croatia/London, UK
Category: Cloud Communications

Infobip, a global innovator in cloud-based omnichannel communications solutions for enterprises, is led by co-founder and CEO Silvio Kutic. Founded in Croatia in 2006, Infobip operates a full-stack Communications-Platform-as-a-Service (CPaaS), specializing in customer engagement and advanced authentication services and more. Infobip is also an official WhatsApp Business solutions provider, integrating its messaging platform with a network of over 2 billion users worldwide. As the company’s top executive, Kutic is the catalyst for Infobip’s focal strategies and growth, working alongside co-founder/CTO Izabel Jelenic. After nearly fifteen years in digital communications, the duo has seen their startup grow into one of Croatia’s most valuable companies.

Since his youth, Silvio Kutic has aspired to be an entrepreneur, and with his first entry into the global telecommunications market, he has found great success. Under his leadership, Infobip has amassed annual revenue of over 400 billion Euro, and the company is actively expanding its reach in the United States. Kutic has a master’s degree from the University of Zagreb, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing.


14. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical
Location: London, UK
Category: Systems Management
The user-friendly Linux distribution Ubuntu has been a popular open-source operating system alternative to Windows since it was first released in 2004. At the head of its parent company, Canonical, is Mark Shuttleworth, the South African entrepreneur who has emerged as a leader in the open-source and free software revolution. Nearly twenty years later, Canonical now offers an array of open-source applications that address data management, security maintenance, and general infrastructure durability.

Shuttleworth’s career began in 1995 when he founded Thawte Consulting, an internet security company he later sold to VeriSign for over $800 million. In 2000, he established HBD Venture Capital as a means to incubate startups, and in 2004 incorporated Canonical in an effort to promote further development of Ubuntu and related software advances. After stepping down from the role in 2010, Shuttleworth reclaimed his position as CEO in 2017, where he maintains his belief that open source is key to expanding the possibilities of software.


15. Mariusz Gralewski, Docplanner
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Category: Healthcare Customer Solutions

Throughout the world, finding the most qualified medical providers is an essential task, and Warsaw-based Docplanner has become one of Europe’s leading online healthcare platforms. Mariusz Gralewski is the founder and CEO of the digital healthcare provider, which has seen massive growth since its formation in 2011. In 2019, the company raised nearly $90 million in Series E funding in an effort to fuel its expansion into Latin America, as well as the continued development of its SaaS platform. Docplanner already facilitates around 1.5 million medical bookings per month and operates additional offices in Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul, and Mexico City.

Before founding Docplanner in 2007 Gralewski spearheaded, Poland’s largest professional social networking site that has been called “The LinkedIn of Poland.” As the CEO of Docplanner, Gralewski oversees a workforce of over 1000 employees globally; he expects continued growth into new markets with an ongoing commitment to innovation of healthcare technology. The young entrepreneur boasts a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the Warsaw Institute of Technology.


16. Ben Dorks, Ideagen
Location: Nottingham, UK
Category: Software Management Solutions

Ben Dorks is the CEO of Ideagen, a UK-based software company specializing in governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) solutions. For many companies, industry regulations can cause chaos with unprepared infrastructures. Ideagen provides enterprises with multiple platform suites that improve efficiency and save costs while managing documents, assessing standards, and ensuring compliance. As CEO, Dorks oversees the company’s day-to-day operations, focusing on performance, customer retention, and product development. Dorks previously served as Chief Customer Officer, tasked with overall client relationship success, which included global sales, marketing, and product services.

Dorks joined Ideagen in 2013 after the company acquired Plumtree Group, where he was Director of Sales and Marketing. His experience in the European healthcare market proved essential as he took an equivalent position with Ideagen, climbing his way to the top of the company in less than ten years. Prior to his time at Plumtree, Dorks worked as a sales executive for TSF and Applied Group.


17. Kay Iversen, Market Logic Software
Location: Berlin, Germany
Category: Data Analytics

In the growing global economy, data has become a crucial asset that can unlock massive opportunities for businesses. Since 2006, Kay Iversen has served as CEO of Berlin-based Market Logic Software, provider of the signature Market Insights Platform, technology that empowers enterprises to get the most out of their massive data collections. In 2011, Market Logic introduced the world to the first integrated knowledge and research management solution, software that has become the industry standard-bearer. Market Logic serves enterprises across several fields, including healthcare, financial services, and global communications, among others.

Under the guidance of Iversen, Market Logic has been named a 2019 leader in Competitive Intelligence Platforms by Forrester Research. Before co-founding the company, Iversen served briefly as CEO of Product Value Systems as well as VPI Systems Inc., where he honed his skills in insight marketing. In addition to nearly 25 years of experience, Iversen has a Doctorate in Engineering from the Ilmenau University of Technology.


18. Thomas Wolf, RIB Software
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Category: Building Information Modeling

Since 1961, RIB Software has been at the forefront in construction technology in Germany and beyond, and Thomas Wolf has led the company for almost a decade. As CEO and Executive Board Chairman, Wolf has overseen RIB as it has grown into an industry leader in 5D Building Information Modeling (BIM), technology which produces a virtual 3D prototype plus accurate estimates of time and cost of any given construction project. In 2018, Wolf’s company posted revenue of over €136 million, and is the second-largest software provider in Germany.

Wolf understands the need for strong leadership and a willingness to press for change, and as a CEO he leads by example. His company’s flagship iTWO platform is the first Big Data BIM 5D enterprise solution for the global construction industry. In addition to his thirty-plus years of executive experience in construction technology, Wolf has a degree in Business Management and Marketing from the Free University of Berlin.


19. Lars Thinggard, Milestone Systems
Location: Bronby, Denmark
Category: Video Management Systems

Lars Thinggard is the CEO and President of Milestone Systems, a provider of industry-leading video management software. Founded in 1998, the Denmark-based company’s signature product, XProtect is an Internet Protocol (IP) open platform that allows for extensive customization for an enterprise’s video surveillance needs. The company’s systems have been trusted in over 500,000 security installations worldwide. Thinggard’s community-driven leadership philosophy has paid off for Milestone Systems, which posted revenue of over one billion in Danish Krone, about $150 million in USD.

Before joining Milestone in 2000, Thinggard spent three years as the CFO/COO of Mondosoft, BeoLogic, and In2itive, two of which were acquired by larger companies during his time. Thinggard holds a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Finance and Accounting from Copenhagen Business School and is the author of Business Magnetism: The Power of Partnership, a guide to using Scandinavian business principles toward professional success.


20. Nick Wilson, Allocate Software
Location: London, UK
Category: Healthcare Workforce Management

In 2018, Nick Wilson joined UK-based Allocate Global Software, a world leader in workforce management solutions designed for the complexities of the healthcare industry. Allocate’s Optima Platform provides efficient staffing solutions for nurses, midwives, and medics, in addition to real-time accessible operational management software. Large healthcare organizations can easily manage both essential and temporary staff across all groups covering both medical professionals and non-clinical workers. Allocate’s platforms are used by over 800 organizations across the globe.

Wilson is a passionate leader and brings an abundance of experience to his leadership role at Allocate, including several years as Managing Director of Public Sector, Health, and Care at Advanced, one of the UK’s leading software providers. He held Director positions with Capita, CGI, and BT Health, where he worked as a Client Partner. Wilson holds a BA in Politics and Economics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. With nearly 30 years of experience and a commitment to exceptional customer experience, Wilson is an ideal executive in an ever-evolving global software ecosystem.


21. Chris Barnes, Tracsis
Location: Leeds, UK
Category: Transportation Planning

In 2019, Chris Barnes assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer at Tracsis Group PLC, taking the reins from founder and long-time CEO John McArthur. Barnes left his own longstanding position at Ricardo UK’s automotive consulting division. The new CEO brings over twenty years of experience to his new role, where he plans to lead the company’s next phase of growth.
Founded in 2004, the Tracsis Group is a leading international provider of software and services for the planning and management of mass transit operations. Across the transportation sector, Tracsis software provides solutions for business-critical resources, planning, asset, and safety/risk management.

Barnes began his career as an engineer for the Ford Motor Company before embarking on what would be an illustrious tenure with British engineering mainstay Ricardo, where he gradually climbed his way to the head of both its software and automotive divisions. Barnes attended the University of Oxford, where he received a Master of Engineering degree in the Engineering, Economics, and Management Department.


22. Benoît De Nayer and Kenya Rose, Actito

Location: Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Category: Marketing Automation

Benoît De Nayer and Kenya Rose are the co-founders and co-CEOs of Belgium-based software company Actito. The company, founded by the duo in 2000, provides an agile marketing automation platform used by organizations around the world. The Actito Pro platform allows users to easily attract potential new customers and engage current clients, as well as optimize customer data to produce the perfect customized marketing campaigns. In 2019, the company acquired Smart Focus, a digital marketing platform provider headquartered in London, strengthening its position in the European software market.

After a chance encounter between the two entrepreneurs in the late 1990s, at the turn of the millennium, Benoît De Nayer and Kenya Rose founded Actito (formerly Citobi). The duo has led their company from the beginning, with Rose handling general management while De Nayer spearheads development. Each of the founders possesses a unique background that provides for a breadth of experience. While Rose holds an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the University of Chicago, De Nayer has a Master’s in Tax Law from the Free University of Brussels.


23. Michael Kelly, FINEOS
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Category: Insurance Software

Michael Kelly is the founder and CEO of FINEOS, a Dublin-based software development company specializing in enterprise solutions for insurance providers both private and governmental. Kelly is a strong believer in continuous change and harnessing the power of new technologies, and his leadership has grown FINEOS into a global innovator of life insurance software systems. Since founding the company in 1993, Kelly’s company has expanded from Ireland to operate in eight locations across the globe. In 2019, the company reported annual revenue of nearly $73 million and an estimated value of over $700 million.

Kelly is a highly-regarded executive in the financial technology industry, and is a winner of Ireland’s EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He has been at the head of FINEOS since its inception, and his commitment to both people and technology has made his company a global market leader in life, accident, and health insurance systems. Michael Kelly also has a degree in Computer Science from Dublin City University.


24. Doug Lowther, Irdeto
Location: Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Category: Video Media Cybersecurity

One of the leaders in digital platform security, Irdeto is on a mission to build safe networking solutions for online video entertainment organizations. Since 2015, CEO Doug Lowther has been leading the company in strategies, relationships, and team-building. Throughout the world, Irdeto protects digital platforms and applications for media companies that deliver video entertainment. It also provides solutions for video game developers and subscription broadcast providers. The company’s vast array of innovative software solutions extend beyond product protection and cybercrime prevention to include workflow automation and orchestration.

Lowther’s current position as CEO marks his second tenure with the company, having previously spent nine years in sales, marketing, and executive roles. In between his terms with Irdeto, Lowther served as President and CEO of International Datacasting Corporation, a Canadian provider of broadcasting technology solutions. Lowther boasts both a Bachelor’s in Computer Science from the University of Manitoba, as well as an Executive MBA from Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development (IMD).


25. Justin Lawless, Intact Software
Location: Dundalk, Ireland
Category: Enterprise Resource Planning

Since 2013, Justin Lawless has served as CEO of Intact Software of Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1992, Intact has grown from easy-to-use accounting software to a next-generation Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions provider. Intact iQ is a fully-customizable, all-in-one platform built for small and medium businesses in a global digital economy. Lawless has been a part of the company, co-founded by his brother Aidan, since 1998, and has worked his way through the sales, services, and support departments over his twenty-plus year career. As a leader, he appreciates everyone in his employ and strives to create an aspirational workplace.

In addition to his role as CEO of Intact, Lawless is the Chairperson for Ireland’s North East Regional Skills Forum, a professional education and training resource facilitator.
Lawless has degrees in Business Leadership from IESE Business School and Business/Computing from the Dundalk Institute of Technology.