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SolarWinds Names New CEO As Potential Spin-off Inches Forward

Pulse Secure CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna was named the incoming chief executive of SolarWinds, as well as a board member. He is expected to step into the roles next month.

SolarWinds Corp. has announced a new CEO for its solution provider business, at the same time as it announced a confidential filing related to a spin-off of its MSP tools business.

There was no indication what the filing stated or whether Austin, Texas-based SolarWinds has, in fact, decided to pursue a spin-off of its SolarWinds MSP business.

[RELATED: SolarWinds CEO Kevin Thompson Answers Eight Questions About A Possible Spin-Off Of SolarWinds MSP]

In Wednesday’s announcement, Pulse Secure CEO Sudhakar Ramakrishna was named the incoming CEO of SolarWinds, as well as a board member. He is expected to step into the roles next month.

“Following an extensive and thorough search, we are delighted to welcome Sudhakar Ramakrishna as SolarWinds’ new CEO as we embark on an exciting new chapter in the company’s history,” SolarWinds board chairman Bill Bock said in a statement. “Sudhakar is a proven leader and has significant experience leading and scaling world-class, global technology organizations.”

The company’s current CEO Kevin Thompson had previously announced he would be stepping down.

“Under his guidance, SolarWinds has grown into a leader in IT infrastructure management with a portfolio of products designed to meet the real world needs of IT professionals who manage today’s complex IT environments,” Bock said of Thompson. “He has been instrumental in helping build a company with a differentiated financial profile, strong discipline and a close connection with the IT Pro, DevOps and MSP communities. SolarWinds is well positioned, thanks to his long-time leadership and dedication.”

Ramakrishna has led San Jose, Calif.-based security firm Pulse Secure since 2015. Earlier this month, Pulse Secure was officially sold by Siris Capital Group to IT software company Ivanti for an undisclosed price. In 2018, Ramakrishna told CRN that the company had between 100 and 200 solution provider customers with plans to add at least that many more in the next years.

“SolarWinds is at the forefront of enabling customers to manage complex IT environments with simple and integrated solutions,” Ramakrishna said in a statement. “I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the excellent team at SolarWinds to accelerate our focus on customer success, as we deliver solutions to serve the emerging needs of IT, Application and Security professionals even as they adapt to an increasingly hybrid world.”

Attempts by CRN to reach Ramakrishna were unsuccessful.

The veteran executive has spent a career working in leadership roles at some of the biggest names in tech, including 3Com, where he was vice president of global product management, Polycom, where he was president of products and services, and he spent two years as senior vice president at Citrix, running the $2.5 billion enterprise and service provider division.

Ramakrishna also served on the boards of Meru Networks, which was later bought by Fortinet, as well as Mitel. He also worked as a senior advisor to TGP Global, a Bay Area investment firm.

The proposed spin-off of SolarWinds MSP into a stand-alone business is still under consideration by the company. In the event that happens, John Pagliuca, the business unit’s current general manager will take over as CEO of the business.

SolarWinds said it has filed a confidential Form 10 with the SEC as part of its exploration of a spin-off. If it moves forward with the deal, SolarWinds said it expects to complete the spin-off by the first half of 2021.

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