Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey Retiring Amid Continuing Disruption

With partner channel DNA, the next Nutanix CEO should quell partner concerns.

Lynn Haber

August 28, 2020

5 Min Read
GRANDI Retirement I hope that never happens  I have been blessed to have a job I love and people I look forward to working with every day TALKIN
GRANDI: Retirement? I hope that never happens. I have been blessed to have a job I love and people I look forward to working with every day. TALKIN CLOUD's SPIN: Am I the only one who would like to enjoy cigars, scotch, and golf?ThinkStock

Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey, company co-founder and chairman of the board, is retiring — but not before the next Nutanix leader is appointed. Pandey departs Nutanix on a high note in a crowded field that his successor will have to navigate.


Nutanix’s Dheeraj Pandey

Nutanix channel partners are no strangers to disruption at the company. Most recently, in June, the channel team added Christian Goffi as vice president, Americas channel sales. He replaced Christian Alvarez, who in May the company promoted to senior vice president of worldwide channels. Alvarez was only in his job for five months before getting the top channel slot at the company. Both Alvarez and Goffi left Juniper Networks for Nutanix.

This latest change in the channel comes on the heels of a tumultuous 2019. First there was the departure of Louis Attanasio, chief revenue officer. He left after Nutanix stock fell 31% in March 2019. A short five weeks later, Rodney Foreman, Nutanix global channel chief, departed. Foreman held the job for 15 months. Nutanix announced in August 2018 the departure of Sudheesh Nair, president.

Disruption Then and Now

In an interview with Channel Futures, in May 2019, Pandey said this about the churn at the company:

“Success is never a straight line and Wall Street is so elastic in the way it makes decisions. One day they’ll hate you and the other day they will love you. One day they will dump you and the other day they’ll actually go on a buying frenzy. They are memory-less. That’s good about Wall Street. The deal is we have more money in the bank than we had a year ago. The company is successfully transitioning as a software company and every quarter we are growing and talking about subscriptions. These are two big transformations that we are doing in front of the public eye.”

Here’s our list of channel people on the move in July.

To customers and partners, Pandey said, “Be patient.”

This week, the retiring Pandey said the following upon news of his departure from Nutanix:

“Co-founding and leading Nutanix for the last 11 years has been the single most rewarding experience of my professional career. Guided by a vision of making IT infrastructure so simple that it becomes invisible, our team has built Nutanix into a leader in cloud software and a pioneer in hybrid cloud infrastructure solutions.

“With our strong fourth quarter financial results, 29% growth in year-over-year run-rate ACV, a delightful software stack, and our recent launch of Nutanix Clusters on AWS bare metal, Nutanix is well positioned for the future. In addition, the $750 million investment from Bain Capital Private Equity announced today underscores the strength of our business and ensures a strong financial foundation to capitalize on the significant opportunities ahead. I am confident there is no better time for me to make this transition to a new leader who can guide Nutanix through its next decade of growth and success.”

Partners Strategic to Nutanix

Nutanix channel partners will again have to show patience; however, Pandey understands the strategic role partners play for Nutanix.

“In many ways, we consider channel partners as another Nutanix customer,” he said. “Whoever the next leader is, [he/she] will have to have extreme customer-centricity. We are so deeply involved with our channel partners that no new CEO would want to unravel that, and if anything, they will likely want to go deeper, simply because our customers are asking for those partners to be helpful in their cloud transformation.”

Nevertheless, partners will have to …

… sit through some company disruption.


Omdia’s Roy Illsley

“I think Nutanix has been a company in flux for some time. They pivoted from being a hardware company to being 90% software,” Roy Illsley, chief analyst, Omdia, told Channel Futures. “They are still one of the clear leaders in market share for HCI, but that market has got more crowded and with edge more complex.”

In The Forrester Wave on Hyperconverged Infrastructure, Q3 2020, report, Nutanix holds the top leader position. VMware and Cisco make up the trio of leaders in the recently released report.

“Nutanix has maintained its position atop the HCI market with its innovation, R&D investment, sales momentum, partnerships, and acquisition of new customers from all segments and geographies,” said the report authors.

“My view is that [Nutanix] is somewhat constrained by the HCI market, unlike Dell, VMware, HPE, etc.,who have many other solutions,” said Illsley.


What should partners make of the search for a new Nutanix CEO?

“I think for partners, the change at the top should be seen as Nutanix getting new blood to drive a new agenda and take the company into the edge which is where the market is moving,” said Illsley.

Strategic technology alliance partner, HYCU, would like to see a new CEO as focused on customer and partner success as Pandey has been.


HYCU’s Simon Taylor

“Dheeraj’s vision has been the inspiration behind not only Nutanix but also the entire Nutanix ecosystem. His pioneering approach to driving customer success and simplicity by design have played a major role in what we have done at HYCU to align with Nutanix and our joint customers,” said HYCU CEO Simon Taylor. “It’s clear that he has left an indelible mark on the industry as a whole. And he has laid a strong foundation for Nutanix’s future success. I am sure Nutanix will find a leader that is equally focused on customer and partner success and smoothly transition Nutanix to its next phase of growth.”

Liked by Partners

Pandey is very popular in the partner community.

“He was visible and engaged in Nutanix partner events. And the company displayed channel-centric DNA from top down,” said Alex Smith, senior director at Canalys. “Assuming they appoint someone that will continue the same values, I think Nutanix partners can be confident that things will remain positive.”

The battle in the marketplace may be more challenging.

“Finding someone that takes the fight to VMware though, as he has done, will be more challenging. That’s what underdog companies need in a leader,” said Smith.

Competitor VMware is capitalizing on its massive installed base and strong partner ecosystem, according to the Forrester Wave Hyperconverged Infrastructure Q3 2020 report.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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