The Software Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2020. Companies are looking toward digitization now more than ever before, and these leaders have stepped up to the challenge, providing innovative SaaS solutions across industries. This year’s awardees have used their diverse backgrounds and strategic leadership to drive the growth and expansion of their companies, despite the financial stress that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed on the overall economic environment. They have led their companies through acquisitions, mergers, organizational change, and the launches of new products and services, while cultivating positive and productive work environments.
These exceptional CEOs lead companies that span verticals such as ERP, supply chain management, HCM, marketing, and more, and have been the driving force behind their companies in making profound contributions to these areas. Nominees were reviewed and selected for their industry contributions, the success of their companies, and their professional backgrounds; the selected CEOs are highly respected by employees and industry peers alike. Please join us in celebrating the achievements of The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2020.
1. Bernard Charlès, Dassault Systèmes
Location: Velizy-Villacoublay, France
Category: Design Solutions
Bernard Charlès has led Dassault Systèmes as its Chief Executive Officer for 25 years. A leading provider of design software solutions and virtual experiences, the company serves an astonishing 230,000 customers of all sizes across industry verticals in more than 140 countries. Today, Dassault Systèmes is a world leader in 3D software and considered a global top-ten software company. Dassault Systèmes 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. Recently, the company’s 3Dexperience platform was used by GEA to assist in safely reopening employee facilities following pandemic-related closures.
Charlès first joined Dassault in 1982 and since then has steadily assumed positions of increasing responsibility, now leading the 16,000-person strong organization. Charlès was appointed President and CEO of Dassault in 1995 and Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors in May 2016. Charlès 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. Under his leadership, the company has continued this pattern of expansion and innovation as it sets its sights on the medical research domain.
2. Steve Hare, Sage
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.
Category: Cloud technology
Steve Hare is the Chief Executive Officer of Sage, a global leader delivering cloud technology and support to help businesses to manage their finances, operations, and people. Sage is a formidable competitor in the software industry – particularly when it comes to small and medium-sized businesses and boasts $2 billion in annual revenue. Hare was appointed CEO for the momentum, clarity, focus, and prioritization he has brought to the company, and he believes that putting customers, people, innovation at the heart of the company’s strategy will allow for the organization’s continued success.
Hare knows the organization well and is no stranger to instituting transformational growth practices for corporations. He joined the company in 2014 as its chief financial officer, 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. Earlier in his career, Hare led the finance function for three listed U.K. companies, culminating in his role as CFO for Invensys, the global technology-related business. He got his professional start as a Chartered Accountant with Ernst & Whinney in 1985. Hare holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Liverpool University.
3. Dieter Schlosser, SoftwareONE
Location: Stans, Switzerland
Category: Software Lifecycle Management
Dieter Schlosser became the Chief Executive Officer of SoftwareONE in 2019, after serving as COO since 2012. 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. Its PyraCloud platform is a renowned 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. After its acquisition of Comparex in 2018, the company has also hinted at further scale-oriented acquisitions in coming years.
Schlosser’s previous executive experiences have contributed to his technical and strategic knowledge and leadership skills. Prior to joining SoftwareONE, Schlosser was a VP of operations for BHP, 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. Schlosser holds a degree in business management from Germany’s VWA Stuttgart.
4. Sanjay Brahmawar, Software AG
Location: Darmstadt, Germany
Category: Enterprise Infrastructure
Sanjay Brahmawar is the Chief Executive Officer and Management Board Chairman of Software AG, a German software company serving over 10,000 customers worldwide and offering platform integration and IoT for enterprises. Software AG has been active in the global software market since 1969 and was one of the first innovators in database management systems. Brahmawar has served as the company’s CEO since 2018, leading the company into a new era of digitalization. His hands-on IoT expertise, international experience, and entrepreneurial vision have guided the company’s continued success as it works to meet the growing demand for digital transformation solutions.
Brahmawar brings over 20 years of tech executive experience to his leadership role at Software AG. He frequently speaks at industry events and conferences and highlights the value of IoT infrastructure and the importance of customer-centric innovation. 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 started off in business management in India, Denmark, and Belgium, creating his persona as a “citizen of the world.” He holds a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from the University of Leeds and a degree from the Delhi College of Engineering.
5. Jason Kingdon, Blue Prism
Location: London, U.K.
Category: AI Solutions
Jason Kingdon is a renowned mathematician, author, computer scientist and entrepreneur. He was appointed to the dual positions of CEO and Executive Chairman of the Board for Blue Prism, the creators of “software robots,” in April. An industry heavyweight, Kingdon has led the commercialization of AI across various pursuits over the last 25 years as a pioneer in the space. As one of the first and long-standing AI entrepreneurs since the early 1990’s, Kingdon co-founded one of UCL’s Intelligent Systems Labs in 1992, and led one of the world’s first deployments of Neural Nets for live financial forecasting. Kingdon was also the CEO and co-founder of big data and intelligent system company SearchSpace, a fastest growing tech company at the time in 1995.
After selling SearchSpace in 2005, Kingdon first invested in Blue Prism. At the time he also set up the private AI research lab known as Glass.Ai. Consistently an active contributor to the AI space, Kingdon is passionate about disruptive technologies that can transform business and solve large scale problems. Kingdon is an EY Entrepreneur of the Year and has authored and edited multiple books, papers, and patents on the subject of AI.
6. Mike Ettling, Unit4
Location: Utrecht, Netherlands
Category: ERP / HCM
Mike Ettling is Chief Executive Officer 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. Under Ettling’s leadership, Unit4 has remained committed to the constant improvement of its service-centric software solutions, and the maintenance of a positive and productive working environment within. Notably, the company’s cloud subscription revenue grew 14.3% in Q2 compared to the same period last year.
Ettling is highly regarded as a thought leader in IT, HCM, and software industries. Before joining Unit4, Ettling was president of SAP Success Factors, the multinational corporation’s HCM software division. He boasts nearly 20 years of management experience with companies such as NorthgateArinso and Unisys and 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 of Science degree in finance from the London Business School.
7. Silvio Kutić, Infobip
Location: Zagreb, Croatia/London, U.K.
Category: Cloud Communications
Silvio Kutić is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Infobip, a global innovator in cloud-based omnichannel communications solutions for enterprises. Founded in 2006, the Croatian company 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. Kutić is the catalyst for Infobip’s focal strategies and growth, working alongside co-founder and 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.
Kutić aspired to be an entrepreneur from a young age, and with his first entry into the global telecommunications market, he has found great success. At Infobip, his responsibilities include shaping the global strategy, building MNO relations, driving international expansion, major products definition, and portfolio development. Under his leadership, Infobip is valued at over $1 billion, and the company is actively expanding its reach in the U.S. Most recently, the company launched Moments, an omnichannel customer engagement hub. Kutić has a master’s degree from the University of Zagreb, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing.
8. Hande Cilingir, Insider
Location: London, UK
Category: Marketing Technology
Hande Cilingir is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Insider, the growth management platform that assists digital marketers in driving growth across the funnel, from acquisition to activation, retention, and revenue. Utilizing deep AI and machine learning capabilities, while leveraging real-time predictive segmentation, Insider’s platform empowers marketers to create personalized journeys across multi-channel platforms. Under Cilingir’s leadership and vision, Insider has been listed amongst WIRED Magazine’s 100 Hottest Startups and Red Herring’s Top 100 Europe in 2017.
Cilingir previously worked as an investment consultant for global companies such as PepsiCo and Vestel. Following her master’s degree, Cilingir honed her leadership experience across multiple international regions both living and working in the Middle East, U.K., China, Asia Pacific, and Russia. At Insider, Cilingir shares the company with five fellow co-founders and she oversees operations with an emphasis on building strong company culture. She actively lends support to the sales and marketing teams and is credited with developing the disruptive technology of predictive ad audiences. This year Crunchbase ranked Cilingir as one of the top three female CEOs outside of the U.S. Amongst her notable accolades, she was also granted the most successful Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Microsoft.
9. Klaus Holse, SimCorp
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Category: Investment Software
Klaus Holse is Chief Executive Officer 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. Under Holse’s leadership, 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.
This year, the company launched its Dimension platform on Microsoft Azure and Mawer Investment Management selected Dimension as its investment management platform in a recent deal. Holse brings high-profile IT and software experience to his position as SimCorp’s CEO, counting Microsoft and Oracle among his previous employers. At Microsoft, he was the president of the Western Europe division, leading the largest area outside of the U.S. 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 consulting company. Holse has a Master of Science degree in computer science from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a Graduate Diploma in business administration from Copenhagen Business School.
10. Simon Paris, Finastra
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Financial Software
Simon Paris is the CEO of Finastra, a leading global provider of financial solutions and one of the largest software companies in Europe. Under Paris’ stewardship, Finastra has scaled further heights, realizing its open platform vision, accelerating collaboration and innovation in financial services, and creating better experiences for people, businesses, and communities. Paris was appointed to the role of CEO over two years ago after serving as president and deputy CEO for three years. In addition to driving the leading fintech’s strategic direction and growth, Paris oversees the day-to-day management of the company, implementing short- and long-term strategies. Today the company is one of the world's largest fintechs with over 9,000 employees and 8,600 customers in 130 countries, and Paris is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Prior to Finastra, Paris ascended through key leadership positions across major financial players, including being a senior associate at McKinsey & Company, and president, industry cloud at SAP. An admirable leader, Paris espouses the virtue of doing well by doing good as the chair of the World Trade Board whilst simultaneously serving on the Board of Directors for Everbridge, the critical event management software company, and on the Board of Thomson Reuters. Paris acquired a Master of Business Administration degree from the INSEAD Business School in France and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and European languages from the European Business School.
11. Doug Lowther, Irdeto
Location: Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Category: Video Media Cybersecurity
Doug Lowther is the Chief Executive Officer of Irdeto, one of the leaders in digital platform security. Irdeto aims to build safe networking solutions for online video entertainment organizations by protecting 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 extends beyond product protection and cybercrime prevention to include workflow automation and orchestration. Irdeto just recently entered a new agreement with Forthnet to become the exclusive supplier for Forthnet's Conditional Access System along with Irdeto’s Advance Protection Services.
Lowther’s current position as CEO marks his second tenure with the company, having previously spent nine years in sales, marketing, and executive roles. Since 2015, Lowther has been leading the company in strategies, relationships, and team building. In between his terms with Irdeto, Lowther served as president and CEO of International Datacasting Corporation, a Canadian provider of broadcasting technology solutions. Lowther has a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science from the University of Manitoba and an Executive Master of Business Administration degree from Switzerland’s International Institute for Management Development (IMD).
12. Kyle Ferguson, Confirmit
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Marketing Technology
Kyle Ferguson is the Chief Executive Officer of Confirmit, an industry-leading technology company providing solutions to customer experience, market research, and insight professionals. With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Ferguson drives Confirmit steadfastly towards its mission of making the complex simple, so businesses can turn insight into stories that fuel action. Kyle is passionate about empowering the people behind Confirmit’s technology, and it dedicated to ensuring that Confirmit works as a partner with its clients, to help them realize their vision.
Kyle has extensive background in the technology space and a seasoned executive in banking and payments. Prior to joining Confirmit, Ferguson held the Chief Executive Officer role at Fraedom, a global FinTech company, where he successfully led the company’s sale to Visa Inc. in 2018. Prior to this, he also served as Chief Commercial Officer and Managing Director at the company, and spent 11 years with American Express in various leadership roles. Ferguson holds a Bachelor of Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
13. Andrew Kirkwood, BluJay Solutions
Location: Manchester, U.K.
Category: Supply Chain Management
Andrew Kirkwood is the Chief Executive Officer of BluJay Solutions, a leader in network solutions and supply chain management for the transportation industry. Since 1974, BluJay has been guiding the way that 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. BluJay’s solutions have also been instrumental in helping customers to manage massive volume increases resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kirkwood is an energetic and strategic thinker, and he joined the BluJay team as CEO in January 2019, 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 (now Blue Yonder), overseeing product development and management teams as they rolled out innovative cloud and edge technologies. He was also SVP of sales for RedPrairie, acquired by JDA in 2012, where he led the EMEA sales region. Now at BluJay, his focus is on innovation, customer satisfaction, and creating a great place to work. Kirkwood has a Bachelor of Science degree in geography from the University of Portsmouth.
14. Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Systems Management
Mark Shuttleworth is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Canonical, a computer software company marketing commercial support and related services for Ubuntu and related projects. The user-friendly Linux distribution Ubuntu has been a popular open-source operating system alternative to Windows since it was first released in 2004. Shuttleworth is a South African entrepreneur who has emerged as a leader in the open-source and free software revolution. Canonical now offers an array of open-source applications that address data management, security maintenance, and general infrastructure durability.
Before Canonical, Shuttleworth founded Thawte Consulting, an internet security company he later sold to Verisign for over $800 million in 1995. 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. Michael Kelly, FINEOS
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Category: Insurance Software
Michael Kelly is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of FINEOS, a Dublin-based software development company specializing in enterprise solutions for insurance providers both private and governmental. Kelly established the company with the goal of putting people at the center of modern core life software systems. He 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. This year, the company experienced a 40% increase in revenue and anticipates further growth.
Kelly has led 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. A highly regarded executive in the financial technology industry, Kelly is also a winner of Ireland’s EY Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Award. He has a degree in computer science from Dublin City University.
16. Marc Murphy, Fenergo
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Category: Client Lifecycle Management
Since its inception in 2009, Fenergo has been led by Founder and Chief Executive Officer Marc Murphy, who oversees the company’s operational strategy and corporate direction. Fenergo has been a leader in software solutions and data management for the banking industry for 10 years. The company is also a pioneer in Anti Money Laundering (AML) solutions for financial organizations, an essential component in today’s global economy. Earlier this year, Fenergo closed an $80 million funding round and expects to surpass $105 million in revenues this year. Fenergo was also recognized by Chartis Research as the category leader for Know Your Customer (KYC) software for the second consecutive year.
Murphy has almost 20 years of experience in developing, selling, and delivering enterprise financial technology to global banks, and has a reputation for building successful business-winning leadership teams. 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. Murphy received a Bachelor of Science degree in software engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree from Dublin City University.
17. Nick Wilson, Allocate Software
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Healthcare Workforce Management
In 2018, Nick Wilson joined U.K.-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. Allocate’s platforms are used by over 800 organizations across the globe, and recently, the company was selected by the largest Danish municipality to date for its e-rostering software. 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.
Wilson is a passionate leader and brings an extensive knowledge of the U.K. and European healthcare sector to his leadership role at Allocate. He spent several years as managing director of public sector, health, and care at Advanced, one of the U.K.’s leading software providers. He also held director positions with Capita, CGI, and BT Health, where he worked as a client partner. Wilson received a Bachelor of Science degree in politics and economics from the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
18. Ben Dorks, Ideagen
Location: Nottingham, U.K.
Category: Software Management Solutions
Ben Dorks is the Chief Executive Officer of Ideagen, a U.K.-based software company specializing in governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC) solutions. Ideagen provides enterprises with multiple platform suites that improve efficiency and save costs while managing documents, assessing standards, and ensuring compliance. Recently, the company celebrated its 11th consecutive year of revenue and EBITDA growth. Dorks has focused his leadership on performance, customer retention, and product development. Dorks previously served as chief customer officer, tasked with overall client relationship success including 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. Prior to his time at Plumtree, Dorks worked as a sales executive for TSF and Applied Group. His experience in the European healthcare market, as well as his technical understanding of software development have proved essential in his role at Ideagen, where he climbed his way to the top in less than ten years.
19. Mariusz Gralewski, DocPlanner
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Category: Healthcare Customer Solutions
Warsaw-based DocPlanner has become one of Europe’s leading online healthcare platforms. Mariusz Gralewski is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the digital healthcare provider, which facilitates around 1.5 million medical bookings per month and operates additional offices in Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul, and Mexico City. The company was founded in 2011 and has seen massive growth since then. In 2019, the company raised nearly $90 million in Series E funding in an effort to fuel its expansion into Latin America and the continued development of its SaaS platform.
Before founding DocPlanner in 2007 Gralewski spearheaded GoldenLine.pl, Poland’s largest professional social networking site that has been called “The LinkedIn of Poland.” As DocPlanner’s CEO, Gralewski oversees a workforce of over 1000 employees globally. He expects continued growth into new markets with an ongoing commitment to innovation in healthcare technology, especially as the healthcare industry faces increased pressure to digitalize. Gralewski has a Bachelor of Science degree in information technology from the Warsaw Institute of Technology.
20. Sarvarth Misra, ContractPodAi
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Contract Management
Sarvarth Misra is a leading legal innovator with extensive experience in the legal technology and legal services sector. As Co-Founder and CEO, Misra is responsible for ContractPodAi®’s development, strategy, and growth. Misra has led the conceptualization, design, and development of ContractPodAi® and continues to lead all new innovation initiatives, new routes to market, and its commercialization strategy. ContractPodAi® has already digitally transformed the contract management processes of organizations such as EY, Total Petroleum, Bosch Siemens, and Pennon Group. ContractPodAi® is one of the world’s fastest growing contract management solutions.
A corporate and commercial lawyer by background, Misra worked in private practice with leading law firms in Asia with a focus on M&A, capital markets, and corporate restructuring transactions alongside cross border joint venture agreements in the insurance, information technology, and financial sectors. He was often called upon by clients to advise on complex regulatory issues, foreign investments, and taxation matters. A thought leader in the legal sector, Misra has also written several articles and spoken at numerous conferences in the legal technology and legal services space.
21. 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 was founded in 2000 and 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 SmartFocus, a digital marketing platform provider headquartered in London, strengthening its position in the European software market. More recently, the company launched adjustable email sending speeds for optimal deliverability, enhanced API and ETL capabilities, and advanced SMS marketing.
After a chance encounter between the two entrepreneurs in the late 1990s, De Nayer and Rose founded Actito (formerly Citobi). The duo has led their company from the beginning, with Rose handling general management while De Nayer spearheads development. Their vision for the company was to bridge the gap between brands and consumers by creating a SaaS platform that puts marketers in the center of the dialogue. Each of the founders possesses a unique background that provides for a breadth of experience. Rose holds a Master of Business Administration degree in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago, and De Nayer has a Master’s in Tax Law from the Université libre de Bruxelles.
22. Justin Lawless, Intact Software
Location: Dundalk, Ireland
Category: Enterprise Resource Planning
Justin Lawless has served as CEO of Intact Software since 2013. The company was founded in 1992 and has grown from an 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-sized businesses in a global digital economy. Lawless has been a part of the company, which was co-founded by his brother Aidan, since 1998, and has worked his way through the sales, services, and support departments over his 20-plus year career – a path he feels has contributed to his role as CEO. His focus has been to make customers’ lives easier and works hard to ensure that everyone is on board with corporate strategy. As a leader, he is appreciative of all employees and strives to create an aspirational workplace.
Before his tenure at Intact, Lawless spent a few years as a project developer at Mallon technology. Now, in addition to his role as Intact’s CEO, 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.
23. Mark Ash, Pure360
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Marketing Technology
An energetic and innovative leader, Mark Ash is the Chief Executive Officer of Pure360, the all-in-one AI marketing technology company providing email and personalization solutions for eCommerce. Pure360 currently counts thousands of brands as clients across 18 years of operation. Since assuming the role in 2018, Ash has channeled his enthusiasm and 20 years of experience in email and digital marketing to support and develop Pure360’s teams under the company’s goals of supporting customers to be the best marketers they can be with first class customer service and industry leading tools. Under Ash’s agile leadership, Pure360 has grown, benefitting from the CEO’s multi-hyphenate expertise across a wide range of key areas pivotal to the growth of MarTech adoption.
After starting his career at DoubleClick during the first stages of digital advertising, Ash chartered the growth of many digital marketing companies across London before ascending to the top position at Pure360. Ash has helmed various leadership roles across MarTech companies including his most recent role as Global VP Services for Yieldify. Prior to that he was at Teradata Interactive for two years serving as managing director and general manager. He was also the managing director of Progressive Digital Media Group for almost four years. Ash received a Bachelor of Science degree in law and German from the University of Surrey.
24. Chris Barnes, Tracsis
Location: Leeds, U.K.
Category: Transportation Planning
Chris Barnes has been the Chief Executive Officer at Tracsis Group PLC since 2019, taking the reins from founder and long-time CEO John McArthur. 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 brings over 20 years of experience to his new role, where he plans to lead the company’s next phase of growth. He recently led the company through its acquisition of iBlocks, a ticketing software specialist, which will allow for the company’s expansion into the smart, account-based ticketing market.
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 held various leadership roles before heading both its software and automotive divisions. Barnes attended the University of Oxford, where he received a Master of Engineering degree in engineering, economics, and management.
25. Pierre Cesarini, Claranova
Location: Paris, France
Category: Consumer and Business Solutions
Pierre Cesarini is the Chief Executive Officer of Claranova Group, a global provider of consumer software and business solutions. The company has a consolidated revenue of €409 million, up 56% year-over-year, including 20% organic growth. Cesarini joined the company when it was still Avanquest, a 30-year-old French software company. Under his charge, the company underwent a full reorganization and recapitalization, refocusing its resources on new technologies and innovative business models and emerging as the new organization, Claranova Group. Cesarini has been the CEO since 2013 and has focused the company on three distinct areas of expertise: internet, mobile Services, and IoT.
Before transforming Claranova into the industry leader it is today, 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. His entrepreneurial experience and knowledge of software and the digital ecosystem made him a natural choice to lead Claranova to continued success. Cesarini holds an Engineering Degree from Telecom Paris, specializing in operating systems and artificial intelligence.