Channel programs News
Datto CEO Austin McChord Stepping Down
Joseph F. Kovar
Austin McChord, who in 2007 founded Datto as a college student working from his family's basement, is calling it quits as CEO.
Tim Weller, Datto's president and chief operating officer, will step in to manage the Norwalk, Conn.-based company's day-to-day operations. McChord, meanwhile, will remain a member of Datto's board of directors and will remain one of the company's major shareholders.
He is not the first McChord to leave Datto. McChord’s brother, Ian McChord, earlier this month retired as vice president of product management, citing a desire to look for opportunities beyond Datto -- which had been his only full-time job after college.
During his tenure at Datto, Austin McChord led the company through being acquired in 2017 by Vista Equity Partners and at the same time acquiring professional services automation leader Autotask. Datto in January 2017 also acquired cloud-based networking technology developer Open Mesh, and in late 2014 acquired SaaS-based data protection developer Backupify.
McChord, who is 32 years old, on Wednesday told CRN that Datto has been the only full-time job that he has ever had, and that the decision to step away from the CEO role was entirely personal.
It was related in part to the realization that there is life beyond Datto after a colleague and personal friend, Andrew Stuart, who was the head of Datto’s European business, passed away early this year.
"A lot of people wondered what might happen to me after the acquisition by Vista," he said. "A Datto colleague, Andrew Stuart, passed away in March. He was a member of our executive team. It reminded me how short life is. Datto is a 365-day-a-year job."
Datto's business is doing well and is growing, and the company has completed its Autotask integration, McChord said.
"We have a rare calm moment when I can step aside," he said. "Vista is disappointed. But the business is going well. That's why I can now step aside."
Weller, who joined Datto in August of last year as chief financial officer, is assisting in the search for a new CEO. He is also a leading candidate, McChord said.
Weller told CRN that McChord will continue to focus on core strategy as a member of the board. "He's a part of the Datto DNA," he said.
Datto has an incredible combination of business model and technology, and has seen a lot of growth in the last few years, but it still has the feel of a smaller company, Weller said. "Our revenue is growing, but we want to continue the direct service our MSP partners are used to," he said.
McChord said he doesn't expect that to change despite the company's growth. "It's easy to expect that kind of service when it's in your DNA," he said.
Austin McChord is not only a great guy, but a real innovator who is known for thinking outside the box, said Mark Calzone, president of Ash Creek Enterprises, a Stratford, Conn.-based MSP that has worked with Datto for years.
"McChord was a great partner of the channel," Calzone told CRN. "He was always open to us. I’m sad to see him go. I hope the company keeps the vision the same."
Calzone said he is a little surprised to learn that McChord is leaving the company.
"When Datto was acquired by Vista and merged with Autotask, Vista obviously tagged Austin to run the company," he said. "I'm surprised things changed so quickly."
Calzone said that, as a past member of Datto's partner council, he also knew Stewart, and understands how the loss of a friend can impact someone.
"If that was Austin's wake-up call, then I understand," he said. "I'm just a little older than Austin, and I've seen friends pass away. That is always a time to stop and smell the roses. And I hope that's the reason Austin is leaving. If he's staying on the board, it doesn't sound like he's being pushed out."
While McChord is stepping away from the CEO role, he is still planning to deliver the keynote address at next week's DattoCon Barcelona conference.