UPDATED 19:04 EDT / AUGUST 18 2015

NEWS

Maritz relinquishes CEO role as Pivotal run rate tops $100M

maritz_paul_vmware_370Paul Maritz (right), who is best known as one of the top executives at Microsoft during the peak of its market dominance, but who has more recently been a critical figure in the development of the EMC Federation, said he will step down as CEO of Pivotal Software, Inc. but remain on Pivotal’s board of directors as the newly appointed Executive Chairman. Maritz will be succeeded by Rob Mee, who has been Pivotal’s executive vice president of products and research & development.

Maritz, who was CEO of VMware, Inc. from 2008 to 2012, launched Pivotal out of stealth mode in 2013 with an open-source platform-as-a-service (PaaS) called Cloud Foundry that has gained considerable traction of late.  Cloud Foundry now underpins PaaS offerings from IBM, Hewlett-Packard Co.  and SAP SE, among many others. The company said it has crossed the $100 million mark in annual run rate.

Mee co-founded Pivotal Labs in 1989 “to transform how the world builds software.” EMC acquired the company in 2012 and spun it off in 2013. In a blog post paying homage to Maritz’ leadership, Mee said Pivotal will remain committed to the principle that “building better software is just as much about creating a better culture as it is about creating new products.”

While Maritz will ostensibly keep a hand in Pivotal’s operations, the wording of his parting blog post leaves little doubt that he is separating from the company. “My time as CEO of Pivotal has been one of the most important and rewarding experiences of my career,” he wrote.

Wikibon analysts agreed there is probably more behind Maritz’ departure that just the recognition that it’s time to move on. With EMC CEO Joe Tucci approaching retirement, speculation has been rampant about who will succeed him and whether the Federation he built will survive. Some people think current VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger is on the short list.

“It could be that rumors of Pat taking over are true, and Maritz and Pat don’t see eye to eye,” said Wikibon Chief Analyst David Vellante, who added that he has no inside information about the issue. “It also could be that Maritz doesn’t envision an EMC Federated world without Joe Tucci. Or perhaps he has one more startup in him.” Maritz is 60.

Wikibon Analyst Stu Miniman noted that Pivotal’s growth may have clashed with Maritz’ style. “Paul always liked the strategy more than some of the personnel part of being a CEO,” he said, but he also suggested that the CEO’s departure may “foreshadow some changes in the makeup of the EMC Federation.”

Analyst Brian Gracely noted that the transition could indicate that Pivotal has shelved any plans for an initial public offering, given that its new CEO has never taken a company public.

Photo by DVIDSHUB via Flickr.

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