After sitting empty for the last six months, the presidency at Rackspace (RAX) finally has been filled. The company has appointed Taylor Rhodes, its chief customer officer, to the leadership role within the open source cloud company.
You may remember Rhodes' name on Talkin' Cloud when we reported in September that he had been given the newly created role of chief customer officer. So this is Rhodes' second promotion within the cloud computing company in the last few months.
Rhodes assumes the role left vacant by Lew Moorman, who stepped down from the president's job in July 2013. Since then, Rackspace has been on the lookout for a new head honcho to lead the organization as it continues to grow in both the public and private cloud spaces. It's not an easy spot to fill, so it makes sense that Rackspace did its due diligence and spent time looking for the right person.
The man they chose for the job joined Rackspace in 2007 and has filled a variety of leadership roles in that time. Prior to becoming the company's first chief customer officer, Rhodes was senior vice president and managing director of Rackspace International.
According to Rackspace, Rhodes has "guided the company toward its mission of bringing the power of Rackspace's hybrid cloud portfolio ... to global markets." In his past roles with the company, Rhodes was integral in the creation and evolution of Rackspace Fanatical Support, which the company noted is one of the elements of its service offerings that has helped it gain a strong customer following around the world.
"Taylor is a proven operational veteran with outstanding strategic and leadership skills," said Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier, in a prepared statement. "He has generated strong growth in all the businesses he has led. Our international business, for example, grew 30 percent a year under his leadership. His relationships with customers and his deep understanding of the market and where it's headed will be invaluable as he steps into this new role. Taylor's promotion represents a successful example of the company's long-term talent development plan."
Rhodes will be responsible for the company's worldwide operations, and it's likely his few months focusing on nothing but customers will serve him well. Whether Rackspace has plans to fill the chief customer officer role is unknown. The company's leadership obviously thought it was important enough in the fall to create it, so there's a chance someone else within the company will get bumped up to fill the role.
Going six months without a president can be difficult, and there's always pressure to fill such a role as quickly as possible. Rackspace could have gone outside to find (or poach) another leader, but it's good to see the company promote from within. Rhodes would already be quite familiar with Rackspace's strategy and vision, so it's something he'll be able to execute on from the beginning.