Our leaders

To be the company our customers want us to be takes an eclectic group passionate about the customer experience. Get to know the people leading the way at Zendesk — one animal-themed offsite at a time.

Management team

Mikkel Svane

CEO, Founder

Mr. Svane is the CEO, chairman and founder of Zendesk, a global company that builds software for the best customer experiences. He has driven the vision, culture and growth of the company since it was founded in 2007. Under his leadership, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and currently helps more than 169,000 organisations around the world better help, engage with and understand their customers. Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, he is a published author of the book Startupland, a father of four and a lover of handcrafted cocktails.

@mikkelsvane
Shanti Ariker

General Counsel, Corporate Secretary & Chief Privacy Officer

Ms. Ariker is our General Counsel & Corporate Secretary. Ms. Ariker also serves as our Chief Privacy Officer, overseeing the development and implementation of policies designed to protect employee and customer data.

She has more than 20 years experience working internationally with high-growth companies and is a pro bono legal advocate. Prior to Zendesk, Ms. Ariker was Deputy General Counsel at Twilio Inc. Ms. Ariker also served as General Counsel at Salesforce.org and held other senior leadership roles at Salesforce.com, Inc. and Autodesk, Inc. She started out her career in private practice. Ms. Ariker received her B.A. from University of Massachusetts and her J.D. from the University of Virginia. She is an aspiring writer, currently working on her memoir.

@shanti100
Colleen Berube

Senior Vice President of Operations & Chief Information Officer

As Zendesk’s Chief Information Officer, Colleen is reshaping Zendesk's benchmark for modern IT at scale and a customer-centric workforce. She is passionate about the role of both customer and employee experience in the digital age.

With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and an ever-changing technology landscape, Colleen is a digital- and business-model transformation leader. Her innovative strategies help companies put their customers at the centre and create work environments focused on collaboration and open communication.

Previously, she was an executive in residence with PwC where she worked on a range of commercial and internal initiatives. Prior to this, Colleen was vice president of IT for Adobe Systems, and also held executive-level IT roles at Cisco Systems, Palm and SAP.

In her spare time, Colleen is an avid rower. She takes what she learns about discipline and teamwork on the water to the business world. She holds a bachelor’s degree from State University of New York at Potsdam and an MBA from the University of North Florida.

@ColleenBerube
Pat Copeland

Chief Engineering Officer

Patrick Copeland is Chief Engineering Officer at Zendesk. He leads the company's engineering team and is responsible for building and scaling reliable products and developer platforms to meet the needs of customers of all sizes.

A highly experienced technology leader, Pat has spent over 25 years building teams, scaling businesses and delivering products for some of the world's most well-known companies. Most recently, Pat oversaw the Brand Advertising business at Amazon. Additionally, he held multi-disciplinary senior roles at Google and Microsoft.

Pat lives in the Seattle area with his wife and three children. When he's not working to innovate and build industry-leading products, Pat enjoys drawing, photography and astronomy.

Mike Curtis

Engineering Special Advisor

Mike is Interim Chief Engineering Officer at Zendesk. He leads the company’s engineering team and is responsible for building products and developer platforms that power the customer journey across sales and support. He also serves on Zendesk’s board of directors.

Mike is a longtime engineer and engineering leader with over 25 years of experience working in technology. Prior to Zendesk he spent six years leading engineering at Airbnb while the company was in its hyper-growth stage. His role included responsibility beyond engineering ranging from Data Science to Performance Marketing to Trust & Safety operations. Prior to Airbnb, Mike held senior roles at Meta (Facebook) and Yahoo.

Mike lives in Menlo Park with his wife and two children. When he’s not at work (and sometimes when he is) you’ll find him traveling to new places to experience different cultures. You may also catch him writing code for his many hobby projects.

Norman Gennaro

President of Worldwide Sales

Norman is president of sales at Zendesk and has more than 25 years of business and technology experience leading and growing global teams of high-performance sales professionals. In his role, Norman is focused on accelerating Zendesk’s move into the enterprise market, scaling and expanding the global sales organisation, and delivering on the company’s quarterly goals and long-term strategy.

Most recently, Norman built Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) mid-market segment for North America into a multi-billion-dollar business. Prior to AWS, Norm spent 16 years in enterprise sales with Oracle Corporation. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Information Systems from the University of Notre Dame and an MBA in Finance and Computer-Information Systems from the University of Notre Dame de Namur.

John Geschke

Chief of Staff

John Geschke is Chief of Staff at Zendesk and is responsible for aligning the company’s office of the CEO leadership group with the execution of the company’s strategy. Prior to serving as Chief of Staff, John was Zendesk’s Chief Legal Officer. He has more than 25 years of legal experience in the technology industry.

Before joining Zendesk, John was General Counsel of Norwest Venture Partners, a venture-capital firm, and practised law as a Partner at Cooley LLP. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Princeton University with a concentration in the School of Public and International Affairs, and a Juris Doctor from Stanford University.

Outside of Zendesk, John is working hard on his empty nesting lifestyle with his wife of over 23 years and appreciating his two kids and two very large dogs.

@jgeschke
Shelagh Glaser

Chief Financial Officer

Shelagh Glaser joined Zendesk in May 2021 as chief financial officer and oversees global finance, which includes finance & strategy, accounting, corporate reporting and forecasting, deal desk, and investor relations. Shelagh focuses on driving strategy to achieve financial results through disciplined portfolio management and is also a passionate champion of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Prior to joining Zendesk, Shelagh grew her career at Intel over 25 years. Most recently, she served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the data platform group. Shelagh holds a BA in Economics from University of Michigan and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University.

Shelagh is an avid cyclist and enjoys travelling and hiking with her husband and their three daughters.

@GlaserShelagh
Adrian McDermott

Chief Technology Officer

Since 2010, Adrian has led Zendesk’s product management and engineering teams, constantly creating new paths for product innovation and development. As the company’s Chief Technology Officer, he is currently responsible for defining its long-term strategic product direction that will shape the future of customer service. He also helps guide the company’s global customers on how to enhance their customer experience to create better relationships.

Previously, Adrian served as Chief Technical Officer at Attributor, where he managed web-crawling and content-identification systems for text, video and images. He was the first engineer hired by Plumtree Software and remained with the company through its IPO and subsequent acquisition by BEA.

Adrian is a Yorkshireman living in San Francisco.

@amcdermo
Andrea Nieto

Chief People Officer

Andrea (Andee) joined Zendesk in March 2022. As chief people officer, Andee oversees our People and Places function, which includes talent acquisition, talent and organisational development, total rewards, diversity equity and inclusion, global people partnering and HR operations. Andee focuses on creating a strong sense of community in a digital-first world and is passionate about inclusion and belonging in the workplace.

Prior to joining Zendesk, Andee spent over 25 years at Cisco (17 years) and Xilinx (9 years.) At both companies she held a variety of executive roles both in human resources and business including business partnering leadership, talent management and chief of staff. Andee holds a BA in history and a BA in speech communication from San Jose State University.

Like so many working parents, Andee enjoys downtime with her family relaxing, playing board games or binging true crime documentaries; she cherishes alone time to read a good book.

Founders

Mikkel Svane

CEO, Founder

Mr. Svane is the CEO, chairman and founder of Zendesk, a global company that builds software for the best customer experiences. He has driven the vision, culture and growth of the company since it was founded in 2007. Under his leadership, the company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014 and currently helps more than 169,000 organisations around the world better help, engage with and understand their customers. Originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, he is a published author of the book Startupland, a father of four and a lover of handcrafted cocktails.

@mikkelsvane
Morten Primdahl

Founder Emeritus

Morten is one of Zendesk’s three founders. He’s taken the journey with Zendesk: from three people sitting around a kitchen table in Copenhagen, moving to the US and establishing new headquarters in San Francisco, winning the business and the hearts of more than 160,000 paying customers, celebrating an IPO in New York City and witnessing the organisation grow in offices all over the world.

In his capacity as Founding Chief Technology Officer, Morten was responsible for technical design, development and scaling large parts of the product. He is also recognised for developing Zendesk's founding culture and principles, which have guided its global engineering ethos.

Morten currently resides in Copenhagen.

@primdahl
Alexander Aghassipour

Founder Emeritus

Alexander Aghassipour is one of Zendesk’s three founders and has served as Chief Product Officer since August 2007. Alexander leads the company’s efforts to keep clean and elegant product strategy and design a top priority. Prior to founding Zendesk, he consulted with international corporations about design, global strategy and recruiting. He also co-founded Araneum A/S, the largest Danish-owned digital media agency.

Alexander holds a Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from Danmarks Ingeniør Akademi and a Master's Degree in Information Technology from the Technical University of Denmark.

@aghassipour