Paul Cormier replaces Jim Whitehurst, now president of Big Blue, whose new CEO takes over
Red Hat has a new CEO less than a year after IBM bought the open-source giant for $34 billion, with Paul Cormier succeeding Jim Whitehurst.
The Lowdown: Cormier’s ascension to the position of president and CEO of Red Hat comes Monday, the same day that Arvind Krishna takes over as CEO of IBM and Whitehurst becomes Big Blue’s president. Krishna in January was named to take over the top spot at Big Blue, replacing Ginni Rometty.
The Details: Cormier, who takes over as Red Hat’s president and CEO Monday, most recently was president of products and technologies. Red Hat officials credited Cormier with developing the subscription model that transformed Red Hat Linux from a freely downloadable OS into Red Hat Enterprise Linux, a top Linux platform that the company said is being used by 90% of the Fortune 500.
He also led more than two-dozen Red Hat acquisitions that enabled the company to expand its business from its Linux roots to a complete, open-source IT stack. Cormier’s embrace of open hybrid clouds led to Red Hat creating its OpenShift Kubernetes platform and his push for partnerships – including with IBM – led to a broader choice in hybrid cloud deployments. Since the acquisition, he has helped lead the merger with IBM.
Red Hat generated $3 billion in revenue in its fiscal-year 2018 under Whitehurst, who also will be chairman of Red Hat, replacing Krishna.
The Impact: IBM has said the acquisition of Red Hat would help customers more quickly make the migration to the cloud, and now has new leadership at both companies to help accelerate the efforts.
The Buzz: “From those beginnings we’ve brought open source to the point that it’s the development methodology for many areas of enterprise computing, including infrastructure, application development, and associated tools, and bluntly, real innovation,” Cormier wrote in an e-mail he sent to employees around the world and posted online. “We not only built our expansive product portfolio using open source methodologies, but we built a company around it. If there’s a secret to our success or a reason why pundits ask if there ‘will ever be another Red Hat,’ that’s it: It takes more than just products to build a company. It takes all of us, across all teams and regions, working together.”
“Red Hat is synonymous with open source and hybrid cloud – two of the biggest driving forces in our industry,” Krishna said. “Paul’s deep engineering skills, product expertise, and industry vision make him the right leader to capitalize on this opportunity and fuel Red Hat’s continued technology innovation and accelerated growth.”
“After working with him closely for more than a decade, I can confidently say that Paul was the natural choice to lead Red Hat,” Whitehurst said. “Having been the driving force behind Red Hat’s product strategy for nearly two decades, he’s been intimately involved in setting the company’s direction and uniquely understands how to help customers and partners make the most out of their cloud strategy. He is a proven leader and his commitment to open source principles and ways of working will enable Red Hat not only to keep pace with the demands of enterprise IT, but also lead the way as emerging technologies break into the mainstream. It was my honor and privilege to lead a company filled with many of our industry’s best and brightest, and I am excited to see what Red Hatters accomplish under Paul’s leadership.”