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The NetApp CEO Succession: Tom Georgens succeeds Dan Warmenhoven

Another day for NetApp in the headlines, this afternoon the news hit the wire that the current CEO of NetApp (Dan Warmenhoven) is retiring and Tom Georgens will be taking his position. Dave Hitz’s blog post broke the news to the world at around 4:30 PM.

Dave quotes: “Today Dan Warmenhoven, our previous CEO, announced that Tom Georgens is our new CEO. Dan will continue as Chairman of the Board, and he will also have a new role, reporting to Tom, focusing on relationships with major partners. His title is Executive Chairman since he’s an executive of the company as well as a board member.”

I really like how Dave Hitz begins his blog; unfortunately the last year has been a losing battle for Dan Warmenhoven, though Dan had a great track record of bringing NetApp from 50 employees to 8000 employees during his tenure. Dan has been with NetApp since the very early days and though his succession Tom Georgens was identified several years ago, the timing of this move raises a lot of questions. NetApp also declared their quarterly numbers today, which sure indicated a profit growth for the past quarter.

Though it was fully expected that Dan Warmenhoven would retire, it remains to be seen if during his last days as CEO of NetApp whether he had any major differences with the board after the Data Domain battle. Tom Georgens comes with a wealth of information and has worked for companies like EMC, LSI Logic and has created some very strong partnerships with various players in the Data Storage industry, his immediate future direction may remain the same as Dan Warmenhoven. In a long run it still remains to be seen if Tom Georgens and his team would grow the NetApp business independently or stage NetApp to be purchased.

I still have doubts about Dan Warmenhoven retirement announcement at such a time crucial time when the company possibly went through rocky times, Dan’s the vision and leadership grew the business over 15 years to this level and then one afternoon decides to step down with any prior notice to the Storage – Wall Street Community, sounds a bit strange. Dan will still continue to be the Executive Chairman of the board, but we should see his role fade slowly but surely over the next 6 months.

We wish Tom Georgens Goodluck & Success in this new position.