I was shocked to here this morning that VMware’s CEO, Diane Greene has “moved on to other opportunities.”
Some commentary/media coverage:
This is really surprising, since by most accounts VMware is doing pretty well. They have huge marketshare in a growing space. In the past couple of weeks the competition has increased from Microsoft, and of course Citrix, but VMware had been prepping for the new world order with deals with computer makers and server makers for embedded VMware. VMware has also made a few strategic acquisitions this year to improve management and desktop virtualization so it looks like strategically VMware was on track to weather the storm from open-source, Microsoft and the commoditatization of the hypervisor. So what gives?
Fortune recently did a feature on her, mentioning that there was some head butting at the top. Did it cause her dismissal? Some people think so. Is this a little too much like Carly Fiorina’s firing from HP, or was there really trouble in paradise? [Although people didn’t agree with Fiorina’s choices at the time, after a few years, it is pretty clear she was making the right decisions.] It seems a bit strange to me that the co-founder is out of the company altogether. VMware announced they will miss their earning, but they still predict a lot of growth behing billions of dollars in revenue. That is pretty hard, the only other billion dollar company doing that these days is Apple.
I am sure you can recall many times where it was political advantageous to keep the co-founder around in a figurehead position on the board, but Greene isn’t a part of VMware in any shape or form at this stage. This definitely looks like a more political than performance-based transition.
Should we expect more high level departures at the company? How will this help morale, since many of the companies employees have been around for a while and worked closely with the orignal team? I think there may be a mass exodus behind the scenes across the ranks at VMware, since by all accounts Greene was pretty hands-on and her team loved her.
No wonder the stock price dropped so much, it looks like there might be a storm brewing behind the scenes at VMware and EMC.