Bob Calderoni Takes the Helm at Citrix

Citrix announced yesterday that Bob Calderoni has been appointed as interim president and CEO. In a surprising twist, the announcement also states that the search for a new CEO continues, which indicates that Bob Calderoni will be the permanent president of Citrix, but perhaps not the CEO.

Citrix has also stated that it “plans to announce the results of its on-going operational and strategic reviews and provide its business outlook for fiscal year 2016 in mid-November.” This may be indicative of some sweeping changes that are forthcoming within Citrix. Of course, the sale of the GoTo business wouldn’t be a surprise. As much as I like the GoTo products, the integration of these products within the core parts of Citrix has never been fully realized.

On a positive note, at least we now know who will be leading Citrix going forward. Bob Calderoni joined the board of directors in June 2014 and was appointed executive chairman of the board in July 2015. Yes, the latter exactly aligns with the date that Jesse Cohn of Elliott Management took a seat on the board.

Bob Calderoni is also on the board of directors of Juniper Networks. Flash back to January 2014, when Elliott Management outlined a value plan for Juniper Networks that ultimately resulted in the appointment of Elliott-recommended board appointees. What will happen with Citrix’s close alignment with Cisco?

Bob Calderoni is listed as a senior advisor to Silver Lake Partners. As you may recall, Silver Lake Partners had a little something to do with the Dell/EMC/VMware acquisition announced last week.

On the other hand, Bob Calderoni has held leadership positions at Apple and Ariba, which was ultimately acquired by SAP. His leadership positions have been focused on finance, not engineering or development. Everyone certainly wishes him much success as he takes the helm at Citrix. In true Citrix style, he will likely be referred to as “BobC.”

Bob Calderoni has some big shoes to fill. Among all the words said about Citrix, there is a consistent and clear undertone that everyone loves MarkT. It looks like the third time stepping down is the charm for MarkT to finally enjoy retirement. While his tenure has had its ups and downs, he’s been the ultimate geek for leading Citrix. As a former Citrite, a Citrix Technology Professional awardee, and a Citrix customer, a standing ovation goes to the man who revolutionized a small startup in Florida and made it into a virtualization industry innovator and leader. Because of MarkT and a plethora of other people, Citrix helped to create the virtualization industry.

There’s no doubt that Bob Calderoni has a tremendous amount of work to do. As the application and desktop virtualization powerhouse, Citrix has had numerous competitors nipping at its heels and stealing some of its customer base. While the sales channel was viewed as the poster child for success some years ago, that has changed, and the primary sales avenue has clearly indicated that it is not happy with Citrix at this point.

Citrix has superb technology and people, and the successes of both have become convoluted with layers of middle management that dont have a clue. Numerous former and present Citrites have expressed their frustration with new managers and politics that just dont make sense. Going forward, promoting people based on successful execution, not just unfulfilled ideas, needs to happen.

VMware and other vendors have capitalized on the dissatisfaction of the sales channel. Citrixs internal sales channel management needs to get out into the field and experience a few doses of reality. Squeezing the sales channel isnt a good tactic for success, and there are other players that have demonstrated that they will treat the sales channel with respect.

Areas where Citrix has the lead, such as in HDX technologies, need to continue to be developed. Bandwidth and peripherals are two key areas where Citrix excels with XenApp/XenDesktop; continued focus is necessary to ensure that Citrix remains the undisputed leader in these areas.

Maintaining the core culture of Citrix is essential to success for Bob Calderoni. The next chapter in the Citrix journey is about to begin, and the industry will be anxiously watching Citrix and its new leader.

MarkT, we will sorely miss “the ultimate geek.” You took Citrix from a  small, unstable technology company to a global technical powerhouse. Your genuine excitement about Citrix and its technologies have been uniquely contagious. The virtualization industry thanks you for your leadership and vision, and we wish you the best in your well-deserved retirement.

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