Management Team

A passionate and dedicated team across the world.

Christian Primeau - Global CEO

Christian Primeau joined Syntax, a portfolio company of Novacap, as the Global CEO in 2018. Since coming on board, he has positioned the company as a leading provider of orchestrated ERP, Cloud and Security services and solutions, in strategic vertical markets like Manufacturing, Construction, and Mining.

Since joining as CEO, Primeau has navigated the company through four successful acquisitions and has elevated Syntax to the global stage after completing its 50th year in business in 2022. With revenues growing 15x, expansion of strategic partnerships with SAP, Oracle, AWS, Microsoft, and entry into 10 new markets since assuming his position, the company has grown to 2,200 employees under his stewardship.

Primeau has nearly 30 years of industry experience, much of it in executive roles with public and private growth-oriented companies in operations, engineering, delivery, sales, and general management roles. Prior to joining Syntax, Primeau served as President & COO at Dialogic, a Novacap company. He oversaw R&D, operations, marketing, product management, finance, and administration.

Primeau spent the early part of his career at Sun Microsystems where he initially joined, in 2005, as a Pre-Sales Engineer. In his thirteen years with the company, he held key management positions in Montreal, Toronto, and Menlo Park California where he served as VP of Partner and Alliances, Sales Director, Client Executive, and Business Development Manager for ERP and E-Commerce solutions.

Primeau joined Bell Canada in 2011where he spent six years in various executive roles like General Manager, Infrastructure Services, Vice President of Client Service Delivery and Vice President of Sales with Bell Canada. He then took on the role of President and COO of iWeb Technologies, a leading provider of cloud solutions. Primeau supported the team in the development and execution of next-generation cloud and managed services delivering double-digit revenue and EBITDA growth.

Primeau has earned a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and a master of Business Administration (MBA) from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Michael Etinson - Principal & Founder

Michael Etinson is the founder and Principal of Syntax, which was established in 1972. Over the last four decades, Michael has been instrumental in the evolution of the company and growth of its diverse customer base. A major industry milestone for Syntax, thanks to Michael, was the company’s introduction of Syntax Distribution Management (iSDM) software in 1983. After becoming a high-value Oracle JD Edwards partner in 1997, Michael has helped Syntax expand its North American footprint with offices in Toronto, New York, and Boston. Michael continues to help Syntax expand the scope of its strategic capabilities with outstanding technology industry leadership and vast industry knowledge. Michael has a Bachelor of Science from McGill University, and has done tireless work as a Community Leader.

Tony Veilleux - Global CFO

As the Global CFO at Syntax, Tony leads worldwide strategic and operational finances, including Risk management, Treasury and Tax. He partners with the CEO and key contributors from all regions to create value and sustain a thriving, rewarding business.

“I genuinely enjoy working with such smart people, they inspire me to go the extra mile every day and to always reach for the highest performance. I like being pushed out my comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens!” says Tony. “I’m very passionate about developing people. I give them the space they need to learn and grow, and I guide them through it, keeping my focus on the long-term vision.”

With more than 25 years of experience in financial accounting, risk management, treasury, acquisitions and integration, he has managed growth throughout his career, strengthening his expertise in navigating the different phases of expansion and change in large organizations.

Before joining Syntax in 2017, Tony spent many years at WSP. He started as regional Corporate Controller and took on increasingly strategic roles including Global VP of Finance & Treasury and CFO for Canada, acting as a key business partner to the CEO and the leadership team. He was deeply involved in the planning and execution of the corporate strategy and in close to 50 important acquisition processes, making his mark by driving thorough transaction analysis, due diligence, and integration projects.

Tony holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a licence in Accounting from the Laval University in Quebec City as well as a CPA and CMA designation.

Marcelo Tamassia - Global CTO

As the Global CTO at Syntax, Marcelo leads all technology and innovation strategies, including software engineering, DevOps, monitoring, public cloud, product management, Cloud Engineering and Security areas. He joined Syntax through the acquisition of EmeraldCube Solutions, which he co-founded in 2013.

“I believe that Syntax is an amazing organization for anyone who truly wants to push boundaries, learn, and grow. We move fast and we are passionate about finding innovative ways to solve our customer pain points,” says Marcelo. “We work hard for our customers and set high expectations for ourselves. We value entrepreneurial spirit, ownership, simplicity and we only hire the best.”

A respected technology executive, Marcelo is frequently invited to speak at OpenWorld, Collaborate, and Infocus conferences as well as OAUG and Quest user group meetings.

With over 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Marcelo established and led EmeraldCube’s AWS cloud practice and its software R&D team, creating innovative solutions that propelled the company to a prominent position in the Oracle JD Edwards ecosystem. Prior to founding EmeraldCube, Marcelo led a technical consulting organization and actively participated as a technical expert and authority in more than 90 ERP projects worldwide.

Marcelo holds advanced AWS, Oracle, and Microsoft certifications in addition to an MBA from the University of Florida and postgraduate education courses from Stanford University.

Dessalen Wood - Global CPO

Dessalen Wood, CHRP, is a seasoned HR executive, facilitator and leadership coach who has specialized in passionately leading People and Culture teams within blue-chip Canadian and US organizations. Dessalen has 25 years’ experience in mid-size and large size Canadian and US organizations, such as Reitman’s Canada, Hudson’s Bay Company, The Children’s Place & The Disney Stores.

Prior to joining Syntax, Dessalen started her career in retail store management, making the move to corporate roles in the field of recruitment and training. She soon developed an interest the entire employee life cycle and moved HR management roles at major both Canadian and US based retail chains. In 2009 Dessalen and her family re-located to Toronto, where she was hired by Cineplex Entertainment initially as the director of Talent Development, later being promoted to Vice President, Talent Development, after relocating back to her hometown of Montreal, Quebec. In her 10-year tenure at Cineplex, Dessalen created multiple programs and support systems designed to create engaging corporate cultures, developing high performing leaders at all levels.

In 2019 Dessalen made the move from the service industry to the tech industry, in the role Chief People Officer at ThoughtExchange, a BC based tech start up that empowers leaders to bring people together and solve problems with their employees, community and customers through crowdsourcing.

Dessalen holds the CHRP designation, in addition to a Psychology degree from McGill University, where she also completed the mini-MBA program in 2016. In 2018 she also completed the Adler Professional Coaching program. She is a 3-time winner of the Waterstone Top 10 Most Admired Corporate Culture award, in addition to having been recognized by the Retail Council of Canada, with their award for Talent Development.

Catherine Solazzo - Chief Marketing Officer

Catherine Solazzo, Chief Marketing Officer, is a seasoned executive with more than 18 years of experience in the IT industry at companies like IBM Corp and TD SYNNEX (previously Tech Data). Prior to joining Syntax, she served as the SVP of Marketing at TD SYNNEX where she built the first integrated marketing organization with an industry-leading organizational design, digital-first approach and led the marketing organization through a transformative merger.

Throughout her tenure she has built expertise across the disciplines of performance and product marketing, branding, digital business, ecosystem development, and communications. She has held roles both domestically and internationally, having spent 3 years on assignment in Japan.

Catherine comes to Syntax with a proven track record of organizational transformation. She is hyper-focused on delivering growth through high yielding marketing programs, building delightful brands, end-to-end customer experiences, and high performing teams. She believes that a growth mindset and servant leadership style, motivates her teams and accelerates lasting outcomes. Her greatest passion in her daily work is leading people and building cultures that last.

She has been recognized by CRN as among the Most Powerful Women of the Channel (2021), 100 People You Don’t Know But Should (2020), and Women of the Channel (2020, 2021). Catherine holds a Communications degree from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Shana Ricchiuto - Head of Legal

As the Head of Legal, Shana is focused on developing the Syntax legal function to support our global commercial, regulatory, and compliance needs, with a focus on accelerating sales velocity.

Shana joined Syntax as part of the Core Services acquisition in 2017. Prior to joining the company, she managed her own successful law practice. Shana has played a key role in the growth of Syntax and the Americas Sales organization​, where her leadership and tenacity have fueled record success over the past two years. Shana’s competence was previously recognized when she was named Senior Director Legal and Data Protection Officer for the Americas region. In this role, Shana managed customer accounts and customer contracts, negotiated supply chain contracts, assisted with vendor management, and supported many lines of business within Syntax. She also worked closely with the global Privacy team on global data privacy protection through designing and implementing regulatory compliance requirements.

Shana earned her Law Degree from New York Law School and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Sarah Lawrence College.

Ralf Sürken - CEO Europe

As CEO and Geschäftsführer (Managing Director) of the German and Slovakian entity, Ralf leads the European region for Syntax, focusing both on strategy and execution and overseeing all functions from Go-to-market to delivery. He joined the organization in July 2016 and came to Syntax through the FIT acquisition.

“Our ability to drive end-to-end solutions for our customers is unrivaled. Putting mission critical systems in the cloud, implementing and supporting them functionally and delivering real digital innovation both on the top floor as well as on the shop floor sets us and our people apart,” says Ralf. “It is always a joy seeing our customers thrive because of the good work of our people.”

An accomplished leader and motivator with lots of international experience, Ralf spent many years of his career doing business in North and South America, Europe as well as Asia. His entrepreneurial approach and his natural leadership skills give him the ideal profile to be able to drive change and excitement while managing a strong business for Syntax in Europe. He is Mr. Customer with much of his focus on customer success and satisfaction, and he expects the same from his organization.

Ralf started his career at Claas, a large agricultural manufacturer where he became a manufacturing expert and a first time SAP user. After completing his studies, he joined Itelligence and eventually founded their US practice, which he ran as CEO in the earlier stages of his career. He then moved to Silicon Valley to join SAP in supply chain optimization and spent several years in senior executive positions at various SAP partners, including Softbrands and Velocity.

Ralf completed his studies as an Applied Computer Scientist in Paderborn, Germany. An avid football (soccer) fan, Ralf lives outside Frankfurt, Germany, and is married with two kids in college.

Dirk Schawag - Managing Director

As the Managing Director of Syntax Europe, Dirk Schawag, together with Ralf Sürken, is responsible for managing Syntax’s business operations and strategy in the region.

With more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry, including sales, legal, project management, and consulting, he brings proven expertise in establishing and managing business units.  Schawag now manages the company’s profitable growth and is laser-focused on the expansion strategy of Syntax’s IT services, SAP consulting, and cloud services for industrial and manufacturing companies in Germany, France, Spain, Slovakia, and the UK.

“At Syntax, what motivates me the most is the positive energy that my colleagues and teams put into delivering real value to customers,” says Dirk Schawag. “We have a clear vision of what our future looks like, we are taking action, and we see our hard work turning into continued growth for the company and for our partners.”  He is a strong communicator, and a strategic thinker, and thrives in optimizing the contribution of his employees in Syntax’s leading initiatives.

Schawag holds a degree in Business Law from the Mainz University of Applied Sciences in Germany and has studied Business Administration at the University of Gävle in Sweden.  He lives near Frankfurt with his wife and two children, and immensely enjoys spending time outdoors.

Jesus Martinez - VP Operations

As Vice President Operations at Syntax, Jesus Martinez is responsible for the smooth running of all service and operational activities in Europe.

“Syntax has an excellent reputation, and rightly so, because all employees attach great importance to high service quality and customer satisfaction. I would like to set a good example and encourage all my colleagues to adopt this attitude so that we can exceed our customers’ expectations every day. Because people don’t just believe what they hear, but what they see and experience directly. ”

Jesus Martinez places a special focus on continuously adapting Syntax’s product and service strategy to changing market and customer requirements. As an accomplished expert in post-merger integrations, he also focuses on integrating and expanding the know-how acquired through strategic takeovers into the globally oriented growth course at Syntax using appropriate processes.

Jesus Martinez has more than 20 years of experience in the international IT and ICT industry and has worked for British Telecom, Global Telesystems, Ebone and most recently KPN International as Vice President Operations International, General Manager Germany and Managing Director for UK, France and Hong Kong.

Jesus Martinez has a degree in communications engineering, is married and has two adult children.

Björn Bartheidel - VP Intelligent Industry Services

As VP Intelligent Industry Services at Syntax, Björn leads the SAP Consulting & AMS services Business Unit at Syntax Europe supporting our Manufacturing Industry Customers in their Digital Transformation journey.

“What I like most about the people at Syntax is their unparalleled ability to always use creativity to find solutions for our customers, making the most of their broad experience and technical knowledge,” says Björn. “I am an open enthusiast and I thoroughly enjoy working with our people to drive innovative ideas and translate them into pragmatic solutions.”

Since joining the company in 2013, Björn has pushed the boundaries of Digital Manufacturing, advanced analytics and Industrial IoT. He was a key contributor to the transformation of Syntax’s Adicom Software Suite solution to a SAP-based Digital Manufacturing portfolio and is now a leading SAP consulting and implementation partner in Europe.

In his earlier career, Björn worked as a Principal Consultant at Dell Services implementing SAP solutions in the manufacturing industry. He also gained valuable experience at Siemens as a Business Consultant where he focused on business transformation and processes for manufacturing customers and as an IT Consultant and Solution Architect delivering integrated Shop-Floor-to-Top-Floor solutions.

In addition to a detailed knowledge of Design Thinking, Business Process Management and Agile Project Management, Björn holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Systems from the University of Applied Sciences in Ingolstadt.

Uwe Jürgens - VP Sales Europe

As Vice President Sales, Uwe Jürgens is responsible for sales at Syntax Europe. He heads the areas of Sales, Presales, Sales Backoffice, Partner Management and Business Development Public Cloud.

“What excites me most about Syntax are our customers and our wide range. It gives me a good feeling when we make an important contribution to the added value of our customers and when we contribute positively to costs, revenue and risk targets with our offer. With our teams we manage to inspire our customers and to constantly win new customers. My motto: “For us, a customer is a living part of our business. We are not doing him a favor by serving him, but he is doing us a favor when he gives us the opportunity to do it. ”

Uwe Jürgens has more than 30 years of experience in the IT and consulting industry, including in the areas of sales, business development and consulting. During his positions before Syntax, including at KPMG and SAS Institute, he had management responsibility for various industry sales, which he built up and expanded. Since joining the company in 2019, he has realigned sales – from the organizational structure and processes to target and compensation systems.

Uwe Jürgens has a degree in business administration from the University of Mannheim with a focus on finance, marketing and psychology.

Kevin Dattolico - CEO Americas

Kevin Dattolico joined as the company’s Chief Revenue Officer of the Americas in April 2020.

Kevin previously held roles at VMWare and Novell and most recently served at Virtustream as Senior Vice President of Sales, where he led global growth strategies and market leadership by delivering and supporting the full range of Cloud Services and Software solutions. He has over 15 years of expertise in IT infrastructure sales, a deep background in cloud solutions for enterprise, and extensive experience developing market-focused strategic plans that deliver measurable business growth. He holds a degree in Business Administration, Marketing from Hofstra University.

Paul Gray - Vice President of Sales, SAP

Paul Gray is the Vice President of Sales for Syntax’s SAP Practice and is accountable for creating sales strategies and generating revenue as Syntax expands to meet the rapidly growing market demand for its cloud solutions and services. Prior to taking this role, Paul was Sales Vice President for Virtustream and ran their business in the western half of the United States, where he was the top global sales leader for the past two.

Paul has more than 20 years of sales and marketing experience in the managed services, software, and telecom markets. Prior to joining Virtustream in 2016, Paul ran North American Cloud sales at Computer Sciences Corporation (now DxC). Paul has also held sales leadership roles at Fiberlink (now part of IBM), Teligent, and Sprint.

Paul received his Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Louisiana, Monroe. He lives in the Houston area.

Phyllis Waud - Senior Director, Channels & Alliances

As the Senior Director of Channels & Alliances, Phyllis is focused on developing and nurturing partner relationships to drive pipelines, accelerate sales results, and ultimately deliver for the joint customers they serve.

Phyllis has held various leadership roles in the partner community, working with the world’s largest cloud organizations for close to 10 years. Her 20+ years of sales and sales leadership experience at Xerox Corporation & MCI, MCI WorldCom prior to joining the channel, give her a unique perspective on working with sales teams across organizations, building confidence and trust as they work towards the shared responsibility of delivering successful outcomes for the end customer. Along the way, she has received several awards and recognition from her employers and partners, but most importantly, has built a network of amazing relationships with like-minded colleagues that continuously deliver meaningful, exciting, and fun experiences.

Phyllis holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising from Ashland University.

Xin Haihong - CEO Asia

As the CEO for Asia at Syntax, Haihong focuses only on one thing which is growth in China and Asia! Leading the team to continuously expand the service portfolio to broader areas from both solution and industry/geographic points of view, he believes in leveraging all local and global innovated solutions to offer best-in-class customer experience and business values to customers with long-term relationships.

“I am obsessed with bringing customers powerful business solutions and I feel like I can really push the boundaries to accomplish just that at Syntax,” says Haihong. “I am truly fascinated by the values of Syntax which are fully aligned with my personal value system. We have modern IT solutions and services based on the best combination of software, infrastructure and cloud technologies. I am confident in our team’s ability to work with all types of customers in the new digitalized environment where IT can not only support but also provide unique value to their business.”

An accomplished business leader with 23+ years industry experience in the Asia Market, Haihong spent 11+ years at SAP in development, consulting, managed services and Service Delivery roles before joining EDS-HP as an IT outsourcing executive. He also led the CDK Global APAC business from Sales to Delivery as the Vice President and Managing Director, achieving continuous profitable growth for over 10 years.

Haihong holds multiple degrees including a Bachelor in Mechanical Engineering, Masters in Science & Technology (with a focus in Computer Integrated Manufacturing), and a Ph. D. of Engineering in Industrial Systems and Engineering.

Shi Rongfeng - COO Asia

Shi Rongfeng is regional COO, working with Syntax China (formerly FIT China) since 2006.

Over the past 12 years, Rongfeng has developed an exceptional Managed Services delivery team in China for SAP and Microsoft applications with solid performance and unparalleled customer support. He excels at managing business critical applications while successfully exceeding the needs of the customer.

Beginning his career as a technology consultant, Rongfeng has worked in multiple fields including project management, customer engagement, product management and quality management, resulting in extensive technical knowledge and hands-on experience.

Rongfeng holds a Master’s degree in Communications Engineering from the Tongji University, and is a certified SAP technology consultant, PMP® and ITIL.