UPDATED 14:01 EDT / MAY 02 2017

CLOUD

Docker hires veteran Steve Singh as CEO to lead commercialization efforts

Docker Inc. is starting a new chapter in its business journey today with a landmark executive hire.

The buzzed-about software container startup announced this morning that it has appointed Steve Singh, a 20-year veteran of the tech industry, as chief executive officer. Singh is best known for founding business travel and expense management giant Concur Technologies, which he sold to SAP SE in 2014 for $8.3 billion. The entrepreneur then spent about a year at the German software maker running a division that included six core business units besides his original venture.

Last November, Singh joined Docker’s board of directors as chairman, which is what set him on course to become CEO. His main responsibility will be leading the company’s efforts to monetize its open-source container platform. Containers allow applications to run as-is on multiple operating systems.

The move comes amid growing competition from rival providers, as well as partners, that are likewise working to capitalize on the rapid adoption of the technology. One of the top contenders is CoreOS Inc., a San Francisco-based startup that offers its own open-source container platform.

Anonymous sources told CNBC that Docker currently earns “tens of million of dollars” in annual revenue from about 400 clients. The person credited with bringing the company this far is outgoing CEO Ben Golub, who came aboard in  April 2013 when it only had 15 employees. Under his watch, Docker hired more than 300 additional workers and started its commercialization efforts in earnest by introduced a set of paid container tools.

“Docker the company has done a phenomenal job of bringing containers to the masses where they will be a critical component of modern architectures,” said Stu Miniman, a senior analyst with Wikibon, owned by the same company as SiliconANGLE. “Ben Golub helped to steer the company through some choppy times of balancing community growth, building partnerships and beginning the monetization strategy.”

Bringing in Singh, Miniman said, is a “natural transition” as the four-year-old company looks to accelerate its business. For his part, Singh said in an email interview that he has a three-part plan for Docker: continuing to invest in developing open source technologies and Docker’s own platform, building up capacity to sell to more large enterprises and building out the team.

Most recently, Golub oversaw the implementation of a new development roadmap designed to reconcile Docker’s commercialization push with the open-source nature of its core technologies. The move was announced last month at the company’s annual developer conference.

With reporting from Robert Hof

Image: Docker

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