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Citrix CEO Templeton Retiring Within A Year, Board Launches Search Committee

Templeton is returning from a leave of absence that began in October, and says he'll be staying on as CEO at Citrix until his replacement is hired.

Citrix Systems said Monday that CEO Mark Templeton will be retiring within the next year, and the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based vendor's board has begun searching for his successor.

Templeton, who joined Citrix in 1995 and has been CEO since 2001, has been on a temporary leave of absence since October. He'll be returning as CEO and will stay on until his replacement is named, Citrix said in its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call.

Templeton is credited with building Citrix from a $15 million company when he joined into a major cloud and virtualization player with more than $2.9 billion in fiscal 2013 revenue. Citrix, which leads the desktop virtualization market, has also been pushing hard into software for managing mobile devices and the content stored on them.

[Related: VMware's End-User Computing Unit Surges In Q4, But Shares Dip On Licensing Outlook ]

Templeton is highly regarded in the Citrix channel, and one partner described his departure as a major blow for the vendor. "With Mark leaving, I think there is a lack of competent leadership internally," the partner told CRN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Chris Wolf, the former Gartner analyst who joined VMware this week as CTO of its Americas business, praised Templeton's contributions to the tech industry in a series of tweets.

Like Vince Lombardi, Mark T’s legacy will persist for generations. He’s passed many traits onto tech leaders who will also pass them down

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Mark T was not just a pioneer, but an amazing leader and humble man. He will be missed at Citrix and within the IT community at large

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Mike Strohl, president of Entisys, a Concord, Calif.-based Citrix partner, said Templeton has had a profoundly positive impact on the company during his 19-year career.

"Mark will be sincerely missed in the day to day work we do with our partners at Citrix and our community," Strohl told CRN. "His unique vision for building a culture of passionate, warm, driven people convinced me to shift the focus of our business in the direction Citrix was going."

Mike Hogan, CEO of Chesterton, Ind.-based Citrix partner Hogan Consulting Group, said he's feeling "a sense of loss" over Templeton's departure. "He has been a great leader and could tell the Citrix story like no one else," he told CRN.

Hogan is confident that Templeton, in leading the search for a new CEO, will find a visionary leader. "Mark may not be the face of Citrix in 2015, but his fingerprints will be all over the stories that are told about the Citrix journey," Hogan said.

Citrix also promoted interim CEO David Henshall to COO and said he'll be keeping some of the executive responsibilities he's been handling during Templeton's absence. Henshall is also Citrix's CFO and oversees its finance and accounting organizations.

For its fourth quarter, Citrix's profit grew 22 percent year-over-year to $138.6 million, or 74 cents per share. Revenue grew more than 8 percent during the quarter to $802.4 million.

Citrix shares dropped more than 5 percent to $54.50 in Wednesday after-hours trading, but in addition to Templeton's retirement, investors may also be reacting to guidance for its second quarter that missed Wall Street's expectations.

Citrix is expecting first-quarter earnings of 57 to 60 cents per share and revenue growth between 8 and 10 percent. Wall Street analysts are projecting 69 cents per share and revenue growth of 11 percent.

For its fourth quarter, Citrix's profit grew 22 percent year-over-year to $138.6 million, or 74 cents per share. Revenue grew more than 8 percent during the quarter to $802.4 million.

For fiscal 2014, Citrix is expecting earnings of $2.85 to $2.95 per share and revenue growth of 8 to 10 percent. Wall Street analysts are projecting $3.35 per share and 11 percent revenue growth.


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