The longtime CEO of NetApp, Dan Warmenhoven, is stepping away from daily operations as Tom Georgens takes over as the company's top executive.
NetApp on Wednesday said its board of directors has appointed Georgens as the company's president and CEO, succeeding Warmenhoven, who has held the CEO role for the past 15 years.
Warmenhoven is continuing his role as chairman of the board of directors, and also is assuming the role of executive chairman, a newly created position.
As executive chairman, Warmenhoven will focus on building partner and customer relationships to help build and expand relationships with certain strategic partners around the world, including service providers and key technology partners
Georgens, who joined NetApp in 2005 as executive vice president and general manager of enterprise storage systems, has been president and COO and a board member since February 2008.
Warmenhoven, who will turn 59 in a couple of months, told Channelweb.com that it was just time to step aside.
"I had a plan to get out of the CEO role by the time I was 60," he said. "Now's a good time. While we're not going totally according to our expected business model, things are stable. Things are tranquil. Also, things are changing as we move into a new era of cloud computing."
Warmenhoven said that someone in his position doesn't always get such a good window of opportunity to redefine his role.
"I'm not leaving the company," he said. "I will be there to help Tom. He's the right guy. It's time to hand over the reins."
While NetApp is doing well, it, along with the entire storage industry, is going through a major shift in how customers deal with their IT infrastructures, Georgens said.
"The ability of customers to deploy new infrastructures is important," he said. "They will look more and more for help with their systems integration. And outside their companies, they will be looking more to cloud computing."
Warmenhoven's immediate plans call for a vacation to Hawaii starting late this week, followed by meetings with partners and customers.
"I'm going to half-time," he said. "I've been trying to free up my calendar. But a lot of customer meetings have just popped up."
That is good, Georgens said. "It will be important for us to have him keeping in touch with customers," he said.