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IBM’s Red Hat Names Matt Hicks As New CEO, Hints At Future Acquisitions

Wade Tyler Millward

Paul Cormier, the current CEO and president of the open source software tools provider, will continue on as Red Hat’s chairman, according to a company statement.

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IBM subsidiary Red Hat has named a new president and CEO effective immediately: Matt Hicks, the company’s executive vice president of products and technologies.

Paul Cormier, the current CEO and president of the open source software tools provider, will continue on as Red Hat’s chairman, according to a company statement Tuesday.

Cormier will work on scaling the company, customer adoption and mergers and acquisitions, perhaps an indication that a purchase is on the horizon for Red Hat. Both men will report to IBM CEO Arvind Krishna, according to the statement.

[RELATED: RED HAT CEO: ‘OPEN HYBRID CLOUD WILL BE DEFINED BY HARDWARE INNOVATION AT THE EDGE’] 

Who Is Red Hat’s New CEO?

CRN has reached out to Red Hat for comment. IBM is scheduled to report earnings for the second quarter of fiscal year 2022 on Monday.

“Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities,” Krishna said in a statement. “Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry leading software.”

In April, during IBM’s most recent quarterly earnings report, for the first quarter of IBM’s fiscal year, IBM shouted out Red Hat as a source of revenue growth for the Armonk, N.Y.-based tech giant.

Red Hat revenue was up 21 percent for the quarter year over year. The company unveiled a new partnership with Nvidia during the quarter around AI-powered applications across data centers, edge and public clouds.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be in our industry and the opportunity in front of Red Hat is vast,” Hicks said in the statement. ”I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and prove that open source technology truly can unlock the world’s potential.”

Hicks joined Red Hat in 2006 as a developer on the IT team, according to the statement. He was a key member of the engineering team behind Kubernetes platform Red Hat OpenShift and helped to expand the portfolio to handle multiple clouds, the edge and other environments.

He also helped spearhead new managed cloud solutions, artificial intelligence capabilities and cloud-native applications, among other Red Hat offerings, according to the statement.

Hicks was also front and center during the recent Red Hat Summit event, delivering part of the keynote address.

Cormier has worked at Red Hat for more than 20 years. He became Red Hat CEO and president in 2020 when his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, was bumped up from Red Hat CEO to IBM president.

Whitehurst surprised the channel last year by stepping down as IBM president and becoming a senior adviser to Krishna and the IBM executive team. IBM bought Red Hat in 2019.

“Red Hat serves as the foundation of so many clients’ technology strategies because of its open source and hybrid cloud capabilities,” Krishna said in a statement. “Matt’s deep experience and technical knowledge of Red Hat’s entire portfolio makes him the ideal leader as Red Hat continues to grow and to develop innovative, industry leading software.”

As chairman, Cormier will “serve as Red Hat’s strategic touchstone and key advisor,” according to the statement.

“His focus will continue to be on scaling the company and accelerating customer adoption of open source technology to build their open hybrid cloud architecture,” according to the statement. “Having led more than 26 acquisitions at Red Hat, Cormier will also work closely with Red Hat leadership on future M&A strategy.”

In the statement, Cormier said that Hicks “is absolutely the right person to step into this role.”

“His experience across different parts of our business has given him depth and breadth of knowledge about how we can best work together to scale and remain the open hybrid cloud leader,” Cormier said. “He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none. As chairman, I’m excited to get to work with our customers, partners, and Matt in new ways.”

The news comes as multiple tech companies make changes at the top this summer. On Tuesday, Citrix-Tibco announced that Tom Krause would leave Broadcom-VMware to become its new CEO.

In June, Arrow Electronics promoted Sean J. Keris to CEO. And in May, Services provider Red River hired former SAP and Juniper Networks executive Brian Roach as its new CEO.

In June, Verizon Business announced that CEO Tami Erwin is stepping down at the end of 2022 and taking the helm will be Sowmyanarayan Sampath

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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