Paul Cormier, Chairman of IBM Subsidiary Red Hat, To Retire

'Paul Cormier is Red Hat,' company CEO Matt Hicks said in a post Thursday.

Paul Cormier – Red Hat chairman and former CEO – will retire April 1 after 24 years with the open source enterprise software vendor.

In a blog post Thursday, Red Hat CEO and President Matt Hicks called Cormier “responsible for the direction of our product portfolio and the position the company is in today”

“Paul Cormier is Red Hat,” Hicks said. “His fingerprints are on just about every part of the company. … He led the vision and strategy for open hybrid cloud and he talked about hybrid cloud on the Red Hat Summit stage nearly 10 years ago! The sheer amount of work to deliver on this didn’t bother him - he knew this was the area in which Red Hat could uniquely contribute. And Red Hat operating on a vision has always been unstoppable.”

[RELATED: Red Hat Chairman Paul Cormier: ‘Even A Direct Account Will Be With Partners’]

Red Hat Chairman Cormier Retires

CRN has reached out to Red Hat for comment. The Raleigh, N.C.-based IBM subsidiary sees about 80 percent of overall sales through indirect channel and alliance relationships, accordingto CRN’s 2024 Channel Chiefs.

In Hicks’ post, he said that Cormier “put his job on the line” when switching the boxed Red Hat Linux product to a subscription model. He also credited Cormier with ensuring Red Hat maintained a level of autonomy following its 2019 acquisition by IBM – as Hicks puts it, “that Red Hat would remain Red Hat, but we would be backed by the scale of IBM.” To this day, the two organizations have separate channel partner programs as part of that separation.

On the subscription change, Hicks said that “this changed the trajectory of the company and helped put us on the map for the enterprise.”

“This is quintessential Paul,” Hicks said. “He knew this was the right move and stood behind his convictions. I often talk about believing in what we do - this was all Paul. His belief led him to trust his intuition and make the right decisions about the company direction.”

Cormier’s Red Hat career started in 2001, according to his LinkedIn account. He worked up to executive vice president of engineering and president of products and technologies before taking on the president and CEO role in 2020, holding onto that role for about two years.

Cormier’s ascension to the top job came after Jim Whitehurst transitioned from Red Hat president and CEO to president of IBM, only to suddenly exit the role about a year later. Whitehurst stayed on as a senior adviser for about a year and became CEO of 3D content creation platform provider Unity in October, according to Whitehurst’s LinkedIn account.

Hicks succeeded Cormier (pictured above) as CEO in 2022, with Cormier becoming chairman and focusing on scaling the company, customer adoption and mergers and acquisitions, he told CRN at the time.

In Hicks’ post, he used Cormier’s phrase of “next normal” used during Cormier’s Red Hat Summit 2022 keynote to reiterate the importance of innovation to the vendor, with AI the current frontier.

“There will always be a ‘next normal’ that we need to help our customers get to,” Hicks said. “Right now, that focus is AI. We have the opportunity to help open source be the platform for AI but we can’t rest. We have to keep pushing forward. Let Paul’s words be the rallying cry we remember for years to come.”