Rackspace CEO Retires, Chairman Steps Into CEO Role

Posted: Feb 10 2014, 6:52pm CST | by , Updated: Feb 10 2014, 6:56pm CST


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Rackspace CEO Retires, Chairman Steps Into CEO Role

A shock announcement from perennial cloud bridesmaid Rackspace (disclosure, I previously created the vendor-neutral CloudU education program which was supported by Rackspace) this morning. The Texas company’s CEO Lanham Napier has resigned as both the CEO and from the board of the company. Following Napier’s move Graham Weston, co-founder and Executive Chairman of the board has stepped up to take over the CEO role.

Moves like this are sub-optimal for a company that, like Rackspace, is fighting hard to gain and maintain market share in the face of a much more well-known competitor. Rackspace has long played second fiddle to AWS but on top of that it is also being chased by a number of other vendors – traditional vendors moving into the cloud (HP and IBM for example) as well as new vendors gaining traction (Digital Ocean springs to mind).

According to Rackspace, Napier plans to invest in and advise other entrepreneurial companies following a decision to step away from public company executive leadership but he will remain a consultant to Rackspace for the next several months to ensure a smooth transition. This negates some of the chatter about personal or health reasons being the reason for the move.

Health or family reasons would actually have been easier for the company to explain away – no growth company wants a CEO to suddenly leave, it sends tremors through the organization and the industry. Even more so for a company like Rackspace that is finding its way in a difficult competitive environment.

The Rackspace board has begun a search for a permanent CEO – but in the meantime Weston, equally well known for his philanthropic initiatives to build the San Antonio startup community will take the reins.

Overall this doesn’t feel like positive news for the company – Rackspace will be under closer scrutiny than ever

Source: Forbes

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