The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2021

The Software Report is pleased to announce The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2021. Companies are pursuing digitization at an accelerated pace, and these leaders have risen to the task by offering advanced SaaS solutions across multiple sectors. This year’s awardees have leveraged their organizational capabilities and leadership skill to broaden the scope and reach of their companies, fighting through the COVID-19-related strains permeating business efforts. In addition to navigating acquisitions, mergers, organizational shifts, and product/service launches, these CEOs have steered their companies with a steady hand all while cultivating uplifting, inclusive, and productive work cultures.

These outstanding leaders head companies that span verticals such as contract management, supply chain management, HCM, insurance, transportation planning, marketing, and much more. Furthemore, they have in many cases been the catalyst for their companies in ushering in profound technological advances for these areas. Nominees were evaluated and chosen for this list based on their contributions to the software industry, the progress of their companies, and their unique professional histories. The selected CEOs have earned the utmost respect and admiration from their employees and industry peers. Please join us in recognizing the accomplishments of The Top 25 Software CEOs of Europe for 2021.


1. Bernard Charlès, Dassault Systèmes
Location: Vélizy-Villacoublay, France
Category: Design Solutions

Bernard Charlès has led Dassault Systèmes as its Chief Executive Officer for over 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 10 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. The company’s 3Dexperience platform was used by GEA to assist in safely reopening employee facilities following COVID-19 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, and extending beyond 2012, the year he launched the 3DEXPERIENCE platform to broaden the scope of digitization and simulation. Under his consistent leadership, the company has continued this pattern of expansion and innovation, now setting its sights on the medical research domain. Charlès graduated from the Ecole Normale Supérieure engineering school in Cachan, and holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a major in automation engineering and information science.


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 manage finances, operations, and people. Sage is a formidable competitor in the software industry, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses, and boasts over $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, and 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 CFO, 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 filling 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, highlighting 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 Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of the Board for Blue Prism, the creators of “software robots,” in April 2020. 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 1990s, 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.

After selling SearchSpace in 2005, Kingdon first invested in Blue Prism. Around the same 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. He received an undergraduate degree in pure mathematics from Queen Mary University in London, a master’s degree in mathematical logic and theory computation from the University of Bristol, and a PhD in computer science from University College of London.


6. Alex Bozhin, Postoplan
Location: Estonia
Category: Digital Marketing

A serial entrepreneur who sold his numerous companies to invest in the creation of Postoplan, an AI-powered system for marketing automation in social networks, Alex Bozhin has now served as Chief Executive Officer of the enterprise since 2019. Today, Postoplan has over 50,000 paid users from 147 countries and is among the top solutions in its market. The company has won dozens of international awards and accolades, also earning high placements in professional rankings. The company's year-to-year revenue has grown exponentially, and its number of users has grown almost 20-fold.

Bozhin has 17 years of experience as a CMO. He has collaborated with international brands such as T-Mobile and Mastercard, and is a member of The American Marketing Association. Additionally, he has founded and has been the CEO of more than 10 companies.


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, 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 16 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. The company recently made headlines by offering its employees access to stock options. Kutić has a master’s degree from the University of Zagreb School of Electrical Engineering and Computing.


8. Karl Fuchs, T.CON
Location: Platting, Bayern, Germany
Category: Integrated Business Application Consulting

Karl Fuchs is the Chief Executive Officer of T.CON, a consulting company for integrated business applications based on SAP SE products and technologies. Performing complete implementations, carve-outs, and optimization projects, T.CON delivers added value for its customers all over the world. A unique interplay of innovative technology and smart minds, combined with merging knowledge from industry, processes, and IT helps transform its customers' visions into reality. As an owner-operated business, Fuchs has led T.CON to become a trusted software company that globally supports its customers, emphasizing growth and pursuing long-term goals. As CEO and Active Managing Partner, Fuchs is pushing forward what is possible with SAP technology.

Striving to join people, processes, and technology on the SAP platform has been the driving force behind Fuchs’ career. Starting as an industrial engineer at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, he eventually built his expertise in SAP consulting skills through various career moves. Being a strong believer in the saying “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together,” he formed a team in 1999 with people who share his compassion and ambition. As one of its founding members, Fuchs built T.CON, which stands for Team Consulting, from the ground up to become a trusted SAP Gold Partner. He studied industrial engineering at the University of Applied Sciences, Munich.


9. Marcel Poser, Screening Eagle Technologies
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Category: Infrastructure Inspection

Marcel Poser is the Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Screening Eagle Technologies, a technology platform for intelligent inspection of the built environment. It was created with a vision to protect the built world with software, sensors, and data. Covering the full spectrum of visual, vital signs, and imaging in asset healthcare, the company develops intuitive workflow software, powerful data analytics, and first-in-class non-destructive-testing (NDT) technologies. This contributes to a sustainable environment by preventing infrastructure failure from aging and defective construction. On a steep growth path to realize its vision of preventative healthcare of assets, Screening Eagle was recently selected as the winner for Switzerland in the annual Tech5 competition.

Poser is an entrepreneur, business strategist, and pioneer of disruptive technologies with more than 20 years of leadership experience. He held various leadership and CEO roles across various industries at Tectus Group from 2002 to 2020. Marcel graduated with an engineering degree from Zurich University of Applied Sciences in 1999 and a postgraduate degree from the University of Texas in 2002. In 2016, Marcel became the 30th alumni of the University of Texas at Austin to be recognized with the prestigious Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate Award.


10. Simon Paris, Finastra
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Financial Software

Simon Paris is the Chief Executive Officer 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 three 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. 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 of 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 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 recently announced the continuous strong growth of DRM licenses issued, with an incredible increase of 162% licenses issued in the last 15 months.

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. He is passionate about empowering the people behind Confirmit’s technology, and is dedicated to ensuring that Confirmit works as a partner with its clients to help them realize their vision.

Ferguson has extensive background in the technology space and is a seasoned executive in banking and payments. Prior to joining Confirmit, he held the CEO role at Fraedom, a global FinTech company, where he successfully led its sale to Visa Inc. in 2018. Prior to this, he also served as CCO 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. Clare Colhoun, Ubisense
Location: Cambridge, U.K.
Category: Location Intelligence Solutions

Clare Colhoun is the Chief Executive Officer of Ubisense, a company offering location data optimization solutions and factory digitization strategies. It tracks location, movement, and interaction of things within programmable spaces, vastly improving control and visibility for burdensome business challenges. Ubisense renders physical spaces into its SmartSpace platform to create a Digital Process Twin, bringing manufacturers proven gains in quality, cost, and productivity. Maintaining offices in the U.K., France, Germany, and the U.S., Ubisense has more than 900 customers across the globe and has empowered many to implement their factory digitization strategies.

Colhoun has headed the company since March 2019, shoring up its position as the leading supplier of high-precision ultra-wide band (UWB) hardware and software to the automotive and aerospace industries, among many others. Previously, she served as VP for AVEVA’s contract management business after 8over8, of which she was CEO, was acquired by the AVEVA Group. Prior to that, she spearheaded strategic planning operations for ICO Global Communications and Airtouch International. Colhoun holds a Bachelor of Arts in finance and accounting from Dublin City University, and a Master of Business Administration from London Business School.


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 associated 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. His company 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. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business science, IS, and finance from the University of Cape Town.


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 helped FINEOS grow 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. Currently, FINEOUS is on track to achieve full-year revenue in the range of €125 to €130 million.

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 fintech 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. Fenergo recently announced that DNB Bank ASA, Norway’s largest financial services group, will deploy its SaaS-based CLM solution to consolidate know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) operations across all business lines. The company was also recognized by Chartis Research as the category leader for Know Your Customer (KYC) software for two consecutive years.

Murphy has roughly 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 became Chief Executive Officer of 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 the company was selected by the largest Danish municipality to date for its e-rostering software. With almost 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 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. The firm expects to report total interim revenues of approximately £38.8 million, up 33% year-on-year, with recurring revenues up 41% to £34.2 million, representing 88% of total revenues. Dorks has focused his leadership on performance, customer retention, and product development. He previously served as CCO, 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. Dorks has earned APS Professional Accreditation, and attended Ratcliffe College.


19. Mariusz Gralewski, DocPlanner
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Category: Healthcare Customer Solutions

Mariusz Gralewski is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of digital healthcare provider DocPlanner, which facilitates around 1.5 million medical bookings per month and operates additional offices in Barcelona, Rome, Istanbul, and Mexico City. DocPlanner has quickly become one of Europe’s leading online healthcare platforms. Earlier this year, according to various sources, the company became the first Polish technology company to achieve unicorn status.

Before founding DocPlanner in 2007, Gralewski spearheaded, 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 1,000 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 in information technology from the Warsaw Institute of Technology.


20. Sarvarth Misra, ContractPodAi
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Contract Management

Chief Executive Officer of ContractPodAi 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. The company 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, IT, 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. He holds an Executive Master of Business Administration from Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, and a master’s degree in law from King’s College London.


21. Darren Roos, IFS
Location: London, U.K.
Category: Enterprise Applications

Darren Roos has been the influential figurehead of IFS as its Chief Executive Officer since 2018. Though resolutely not afraid to shake up the status quo, Roos guides the company’s vision of stable growth through the reliable qualities of authenticity and integrity. With a belief in being resilient, resourceful, and putting problem-solving to the fore, he oversaw the advancement of the IFS’ position in field service management, enterprise asset management, and enterprise resource planning.

Roos’ career of leading global software businesses spans over 20 years. Shouldering end-to-end responsibility for all products and the well-being and efficiency of 4,000 staff, Roos was the president of SAP’s global ERP Cloud business. He also delivered his brand of consistency as general manager of Northern Europe and COO of EMEA for the company. Also crucial to his acumen is his time spent with Software AG as president of EMEA, APJ, LATAM as well as Software AG’s Group Executive Board. Roos studied international business at Harvard Business School and the Stanford Graduate School of Business.


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

Justin Lawless has served as Chief Executive Officer of Intact Software since 2013. The company, founded in 1992, has grown from an easy-to-use accounting software to become a leading 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 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 main focus has been to make customers’ lives easier, and as a leader, he is appreciative of all employees and strives to create an aspirational workplace.

Before his tenure at Intact, Lawless spent several 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 19 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 in accordance with the company’s goal of supporting customers with first-class customer service and industry-leading tools. Under his 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 held 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. It is currently well-positioned to benefit from the strategic direction outlined for the U.K. rail industry in the Williams-Shapps plan for rail, and Barnes has reported that Tracsis has inked several TRACS Enterprise contracts due to go live in early 2022.

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 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. Cesarini joined the company when it was still Avanquest, a 30-year-old French software company. In fact, Claranova recently announced the completion of the buyout of all minority interests in Avanquest. Under Cesarini’s 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 10-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 earned an engineering degree from Telecom Paris, specializing in operating systems and artificial intelligence.