Many people in the virtualization industry have been Citrites—past or present Citrix employees—at some point in their career, and a good number of others have been involved with a Citrix partner. But regardless of their roles in the virtualization industry, all have felt the impact that Mark Templeton has had in transforming a startup company with an outlandish concept called server-based computing into the virtualization powerhouse it is today.
There’s been a loving/not-so-loving relationship between MarkT and the CEO role. He has been the on-again, off-again CEO of Citrix several times in his career, including in 2006, when the board of directors publicly stated that there was a search in progress to replace him. Shortly thereafter, the board announced that MarkT was indeed the best person to lead Citrix, and that proved to be a wise decision. He stepped down for personal reasons late in 2013 and then announced his retirement earlier this year, but this past week, we’ve learned that he will remain as CEO.
MarkT is a profound innovator and leader in the virtualization industry. It’s clear that he sincerely loves Citrix and technology as a whole. It’s readily apparent that this is a technology CEO who is the first to get all the latest user devices and push them to the limits with Citrix functionality; you can just picture him as the ultimate test user, proving the “any, any, any” concept on a daily basis. He’s not a flashy leader, but when you hear MarkT speak, it’s obvious that he doesn’t really need teleprompters, because he doesn’t just know Citrix: he feels it.
Unlike the careers of many CEOs and other industry executives, MarkT’s career matured at Citrix; he intimately knows its past, present, and strategic future. Some organizations recruit top-level executives who don’t have a pulse for the company and ultimately become detached icons in the corner office, but that’s absolutely not the case with MarkT. He has been at Citrix for sixteen years and truly knows the inner workings of the company.
MarkT’s reign at the helm has certainly had many ups and downs. Wall Street has loved and hated him many times over the years. In addition to producing technology that was ahead of its time, his leadership has had a generally positive impact on the bank accounts of many Citrites and investors. He was the visionary and guiding force who pushed Citrix from producing the “one-trick pony” product WinFrame/MetaFrame to becoming the virtualization titan it is now.
However, there were some difficult business decisions that were made along the way, including two major rounds of layoffs at Citrix. Having been there during those events, it was evident to me that those were heart-wrenching times. MarkT made it clear that the Citrites who were released were to be treated with the utmost dignity and respect. In contrast, most other CEOs appear aloof when the lives of employees are disrupted.
For those whose careers have been influenced by Citrix—whether as a Citrite or partner, or via an ancillary product—you know well that Citrix is not the same company that it was ten, or fifteen, or twenty years ago. Change is inevitable. Knowing that Mark Templeton in his role as CEO genuinely feels Citrix in his blood elicits confidence that its future is going to be full of fireworks.