Our leaders

To be the company our customers want us to be, it 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.

Founders

Mikkel Svane

CEO, Founder

Mikkel 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 U.S. 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 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

Management team

Mikkel Svane

CEO, Founder

Mikkel 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

Shanti is our General Counsel & Corporate Secretary. Shanti 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, Shanti was Deputy General Counsel at Twilio Inc. Shanti 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. Shanti 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 center 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
Alex Constantinople

Chief Marketing Officer

Alex joined Zendesk as CMO in May 2021 and is responsible for our global marketing efforts including brand, product, campaigns and integrated marketing, creative, communications, social impact and events. She focuses on unifying our messages across our customers, products and the company to keep building our marketing engine and driving continued growth. Alex will also focus on more clearly connecting our social impact work with our company mission and guiding the development and evolution of our corporate strategy.

Prior to Zendesk she was the CEO of Outcast, an integrated marketing agency, where for a decade she partnered with some of the world’s most well-known companies to help them shape and grow their brands. She has also served in marketing and communications roles for GE, Condé Nast, NBC and CNN.

She lives in San Francisco with her husband and three children.

@constantalex
Mike Curtis

Interim Chief Engineering Officer

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 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 practiced 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 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 traveling 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.

Toke Nygaard

Chief Creative Officer

With more than 20 years of experience designing digital experiences, Toke oversees Zendesk’s brand and product UX/UI as the company’s chief creative officer. In this role, he is constantly developing and building the Zendesk brand with his global team of passionate creatives, keeping the product experience true to its origins of being simple and easy to use. Toke’s quietly humble ambition is to build the greatest and most unique cloud-software brand of all time.

Before joining Zendesk, Toke was a founding partner of one of the largest pioneering design communities, K10k. He was also the founder and creative director at Cuban Council, a digital-design company, where he helped design the original Facebook identity, and worked with a range of clients from Tyra Banks and Francis Coppola, to Apple and NASA. Previously, he worked for Danish web-design frontrunner Araneum and later helped start the Oven Digital offices in London. Toke attended Kolding School of Design and The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design, focusing on new media and graphic design.

Outside of the office, Toke enjoys spending quality time with his family and is a table tennis aficionado.

@tokenygaard
Jeff Titterton

Chief Operating Officer

As Zendesk’s chief operating officer, Jeff brings the Product, Advocacy and scaled Go-to-Market customer teams closer together to fully understand how our customers experience Zendesk so that we can create the best possible CX solutions for them.

Prior to being named COO, Jeff spent four years as Zendesk’s CMO, where he helped Zendesk realise significant growth by focusing on what matters most to our customers and delivering a more seamless, simplified and frictionless customer experience. Before joining Zendesk, he spent nearly two decades in leadership roles at SaaS and other tech companies, where he focused on marketing, product marketing, conversion and retention optimisation, analytics and business management at companies ranging from startups to enterprise companies.

Most recently, he ran engagement marketing and campaign marketing for Adobe’s multi-billion dollar ARR Creative Cloud business, and before that, he served as CMO at 99designs. He has also spent many years in the Silicon Valley startup scene, where he honed his strength in data-driven marketing and growth best practice.

When he’s not digging through the numbers and mulling over strategy, you can find him spending time with his husband and two children, or doing long runs or bike rides throughout the Bay Area.

@JeffTitterton
Maarten Van Horenbeeck

Chief Trust Officer & CISO

Maarten has served as Zendesk’s chief information security officer since 2018, leading the global security organisation. Maarten also serves as Chief Trust Officer for Zendesk, overseeing appropriate levels of protection for customer information. He is also a former board member and Chairman of the Forum of Incident Response and Security Teams (FIRST), a nonprofit association of 400 security teams in more than 80 countries.

Maarten has more than 15 years of experience managing security organisations, which includes building the cybersecurity-threat intelligence team at Amazon and working on the security teams at Google and Microsoft.

He holds a master’s degree in information security from Edith Cowan University and a master’s degree in international relations from Freie Universitat Berlin. When not working, Maarten enjoys backpacking, sailing and collecting first-edition travel literature.

@maartenvhb

Board of directors

Mikkel Svane

CEO, Founder

Archana Agrawal

Chief Marketing Officer, Airtable

Carl Bass

Former President and CEO, Autodesk

Mike Curtis

Former VP of Engineering, Airbnb

Mike Frandsen

Executive Director of Products, Workday

Brandon Gayle

Chief Operating Officer, Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Steve Johnson

Vice President of Design, Netflix

Hilarie Koplow–McAdams

Venture Partner,
New Enterprise Associates

Thomas Szkutak

Former SVP and CFO, Amazon

Michelle Wilson

Former SVP, General Counsel and Secretary, Amazon