VMware’s Executive Shuffle! Maritz Out and Gelsinger In

VMworld 2012 is right around the corner and the time leading up to the conference is usually the time major announcements are made about new technology and/or new products to strike interest in different technologies that will be presented at the conference.  Today a different kind of announcement has been made, VMware’s Executive Shuffle in that Paul Maritz is no longer VMware CEO, and he is being replaced by Pat Gelsinger, President and COO of EMC’s Information Infrastructure Product division. Mr. Maritz will become a Vice Chairman at EMC, although I am still up in the air on whether that means Paul is on his way out of EMC or looking to lead somewhere else?  Maybe one could speculate Cloud Foundry?

There are rumors circulating that this move is part of a broader succession effort in place in preparation of EMC’s CEO Joe Tucci’s eventual retirement, which Mr. Tucci has already postponed.  I am going to go on the assumption that this move is part of the succession efforts.  Mr. Gelsinger has been considered one of the main contenders to take over as CEO at EMC when Mr. Tucci retires and stepping into CEO role at VMware would give Mr. Gelsinger a chance to step into the CEO role and get his feet wet before possibly taking over at EMC.

Let me flip the coin over and speculate in another direction and propose this idea. What if Mr. Maritz departure was to put him in a position to take over EMC as CEO when Mr. Tucci retires?  Mr. Maritz has taken VMware to the next level during his four years at the helm of VMware and would be one possible scenario.

I remember when EMC acquired VMware and the announcements were made that the companies were going to stay completely separate of each other.  I was not quite sure I believed that then, but I have to admit that the swapping of executives between the two companies took a lot longer than I imagined.

For VMware’s Executive Shuffle to be made just over a month away from VMworld 2012 in San Francisco, has really surprised me and I imagine this will be presented and talked about in more depth in San Francisco and Barcelona.  Is this change a good thing for VMware? I am not quite sure which side of the fence I will take in that discussion except to say time will tell. VMware’s stock (VMW) performance today, since the announcement was made (-5%), might be a good indication of what others are thinking about the executive shuffle.

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