No disputing the success virtualization software vendor Citrix Systems has had under the leadership of CEO Mark Templeton. In his tenure, Citrix has gone from $400 million to more than $3 billion in sales. Little wonder that the board decided to keep their CEO, despite announced plans for his retirement.
Last week, Citrix announced that Templeton would stay on as CEO in a “multiyear” agreement. Earlier this year, he announced plans to retire after 14 years at the Citrix helm. Last fall, he took a leave of absence to deal with a family crisis.
“After completing our search process, and considering a number of qualified candidates, the board concluded that Mark is the best leader to drive the company forward at this time of dynamic change in our business,” Chairman Thomas F. Bogan said in a statement.
Citrix’s plans to replace Templeton were well defined. At the May Synergy conference, partners and customers alike presented tributes – many emotional – to Templeton’s leadership and service to the company and its reseller community. The company had engaged in a broad replacement search, and had hoped to land a high-profile, seasoned replacement.
No telling on how Citrix and Templeton came to the understanding to extend his service into the indefinite future. However, it could be that Templeton put his personal issues behind him and chose to focus on work. As he says, in his own words, circumstances have changed.
“While I had planned to retire within the year following my leave of absence, my personal circumstances have changed, and I am more determined than ever to lead Citrix through its next wave of transformation. Our core businesses have market-leading positions and our early successes in mobile and cloud services put [Citrix] at a pivotal inflection point in its evolution. I deeply appreciate the Board’s support for my continued leadership of the company at this important time. There is much to be done, and my commitment to drive the business forward is unwavering,” Templeton wrote.
Citrix and its peers have enjoyed much success enabling the virtualized world. Thanks to their innovations and products, the virtualization segment has made possible distributed and ubiquitous computing, consolidated and high-efficient data centers, and flexible computing platforms.
In recent years, Citrix has expanded into virtual desktops, mobility management and software defined networks (SDN). While it’s gaining traction in all three segments, growth is increasingly more challenging. Server virtualization reached market saturation a few years ago, when more than 80 percent of the installed servers were running some form of virtualization software. While SDN and mobility are growth opportunities, competition is stiff.
Generally, the Citrix customer and partner communities have greeted the continuation of Templeton’s administration warmly. However, there was much expectation for fresh perspective and leadership that would come with a new CEO. The board is cognizant of this and has pledged to make concerted efforts to bolster Citrix’s leadership succession plan.
“While Mark has made a multi-year commitment, CEO succession remains an important focus for our board and we will continue to manage for the time when he steps down,” Bogan said.
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