by Doug Woodburn

Computacenter CEO Mike Norris and Distology founder Hayley Roberts are among the 125 top UK channel executives featured in this year's CRN A-list, which was compiled in partnership with Agilitas.

Our who's who of the UK IT channel sees top reseller, distie and vendor bosses take on eight fiendish questions, including what law they would introduce if they were made monarch and who would play them in a movie of their life.

Our octet of bothersome brainteasers were designed to play to our A-listers' fun, thoughtful and irreverent sides, and they did not disappoint.

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Leo Makhlin
SVP, global accounts, World Wide Technology

What has been your business highlight of 2022?

My business highlight for 2022 is seeing the client, geographic, project type, and revenue type diversity really hit critical mass. The overarching strategic imperative we have prioritised over the past seven years has really come into sharp focus and critical mass this year. We now have much better balance in our business across all of the above dimensions.

If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?

I would introduce some form of compulsory national service for all citizens over the age of 16. People across the world have become too tribal, too inward, too polarised and have forgotten that there is much that unites us than divides us. Beyond the work of governments' compulsory national service (and I'm not talking about military) would not only advance much needed work in our communities, but it would also serve to remind us that when we work together our diversity is our strength and not a weakness.

Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?

This is a very loaded question as there are so many to choose from. I'll cheat by naming one tech leader and one channel leader. For tech leader I'm going to nominate George Kurtz, CEO of Crowdstrike. For channel leader, I am going to stay with the same firm, Crowdstrike and call out Amanda Adams - VP of alliances.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

"Volatile when combined with a lack of accountability."

What was your first job?

My first real job, fresh out of university was a sales role at Hewlett-Packard (that's what it was called back then) in Sydney, Australia. It was role that I was underqualified to do at the time. But it turned out OK, thanks to the faith and belief of my boss and a lot of hard work and risk taking and investment in continuous learning.

What was the last book you read, and was it any good?

7 Powers: The Foundations of 50 Business Strategy by Hamilton Helmer. Exceptional. I would highly recommend it to any business leader.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?

This lesson was taught to me by the same boss as I reference above, very early in my career. He taught me the power of active listening and extreme curiosity. He taught me the critical ratio between talking and listening, asking high-quality questions and being interested before being interesting. Good things happen when we listen with a tuned ear to our customers and partners.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Jerry Seinfeld.


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