Citrix CEO Templeton Bullish On Future, But Wall Street Might Need Convincing

Citrix Systems CEO Mark Templeton has put off his planned retirement, and he's not overly concerned with competition from rivals intent on taking a bite out of the vendor's desktop virtualization and cloud cash cows.

"We have imitators and aggressive competitors. Citrix is, however, the real thing," Templeton said in a post to his Facebook followers Thursday, which was viewed by CRN.

"Others cannot copy our culture, our vision, our passion for customers and how we demonstrate all that. Let them try. Let them follow. We will do what we always have done -- lead."

But Wall Street, it seems, has a less sanguine view of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based vendor's situation. Citrix shares were flat in after-hours trading Thursday after the news that Templeton would be staying, and they closed down 16 cents on Friday at $64.20.

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[Related: It's Official: Citrix's Mark Templeton Shuns Retirement, Will Stay On As CEO ]

Citrix is facing unprecedented pressure in mobile from VMware, which acquired AirWatch for $1.5 billion in January and has been poaching top talent from Citrix, including Sumit Dhawan, vice president and general manager of desktop products in VMware's End-User Computing unit.

In April, VMware unveiled Horizon 6, which uses Microsoft's Remote Desktop Services (RDS) technology to deliver hosted apps and session-based desktops to any type of device. By adding RDS to the mix, VMware is going after Citrix XenApp customers that might prefer to buy technology for running virtual desktops and apps from one vendor.

In a note to clients earlier this month, Wells Fargo Securities said Templeton "brings stability and focus to sales, marketing, and overall field execution" and is well respected by Citrix's customers, partners and field sales.

On the other hand, Citrix has done an "unexceptional" job managing its transition to mobile and its acquisition of Zenprise, which closed in 2012, Wells Fargo Securities said in the note.

"We think there is a camp of investors that would welcome a fresh leader that was focused on reducing operating expenses, scaling margins, and pursuing alternative strategic options," Wells Fargo Securities said in the note.

Several Citrix partners told CRN yesterday they're thrilled with Templeton's decision to stay on as CEO because they think he's best equipped to lead the vendor. Based on investors' reaction so far, however, it appears that Wall Street may need some convincing.