August 19, 2015
Pivotal chief executive Paul Maritz, a 35-year industry veteran who formerly headed VMware (VMW) and held a top executive post at Microsoft (MSFT), has stepped down and will be replaced at the helm by Pivotal Labs head Rob Mee.
“My career as an operational manager is over,” Maritz told the Wall Street Journal.
Maritz, who held the CEO slot since 2012, will remain on Pivotal’s board as executive chairman. Mee co-founded agile software developer Pivotal Labs in 1989, which EMC acquired in 2012, and, along with VMware subsequently spun out in 2013 as Pivotal Software.
The company, initially staffed with 500 VMware employees and about 800 EMC employees, currently employs about 1,700 people.
In referencing Mee’s history with Pivotal, Maritz called him a “natural successor” to the top spot.
“The reason that Rob is a natural successor here is that, first of all, he had built one of the key components around which we created Pivotal,” Maritz said.
The decision to step down was his alone, Maritz said, based, in part, on Pivotal’s growth with cloud computing software sales from its Cloud Foundry operation doubling in the past year to $100 million.
It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes Mee makes in running Pivotal. Pivotal Labs is the hub around which Pivotal Software initially was built and now serves as the agile software development wing of Pivotal, integrated with its two other businesses–a big data analytics arm and the Cloud Foundry wing.
Mee told the NY Times that Pivotal’s directive is to help businesses transition to a digitized operation.
“Whether you’re in the auto, insurance, energy, retail or any other industry, you have to be a software company to compete,” he said. “Excellence in software is becoming a core competence, and that’s really daunting for most companies.”
Pivotal’s customers include notables Allstate, Comcast, GE, Humana, Kroger, Lockheed Martin, Philips and Verizon. In April, 2013, Pivotal landed a $105 million investment from GE, equivalent to a 10 percent stake in the startup venture. As part of the cash infusion, GE and Pivotal stuck a research and development and commercial agreement designed to speed up GE’s ability to construct new analytic services and solutions for its customers.
One way or another Mee will have to contend with the impact activist investor Elliott Management is exerting on EMC. Elliott, which owns a 2 percent stake in EMC valued at about $1 billion, has been prodding the storage giant to spin off its 80 percent interest in VMware and its majority stake in Pivotal to boost its share price.
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