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VMware CEO: Sanjay Poonen To Take Cohesity ‘To New Heights’

Mark Haranas

Cohesity’s new CEO, Sanjay Poonen, was congratulated by his former colleague and VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram on social media.

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VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram

VMware CEO Raghu Raghuram is cheering his former colleague, Sanjay Poonen, after getting the nod to become president and CEO of data management software firm Cohesity.

Both Poonen and Raghuram were top candidates vying for the open VMware CEO position last year after Pat Gelsinger left VMware to lead Intel. Poonen announced his departure from VMware after Raghuram was announced as VMware’s new CEO, although the two remained friends.

“Congrats Sanjay! Looking forward to seeing Mohit Aron and you taking Cohesity to new heights!!” said Raghuram in a tweet today.

[Related: Former VMware Star Sanjay Poonen Becomes CEO Of Cohesity]

VMware’s CEO wasn’t the only person congratulating Poonen on his new CEO role leading data management specialist Cohesity.

In fact, Poonen’s LinkedIn post today announcing his hiring by Cohesity has garnered over 350 comments in just a few hours.

Top industry leaders like HPE Chief Technology Officer Ridelma Russo, along with executives from AWS and Cisco, as well as current and former VMware leaders, took to LinkedIn to congratulate Poonen.

Poonen And Raghuram’s History

Last year, Poonen was VMware’s chief operating officer, while Raghuram was COO of products and cloud services.

VMware’s former CEO Pat Gelsinger announced his departure from VMware to lead Intel in late 2020. In terms of the leading candidates to become CEO of VMware: Poonen and Raghuram were on top of the list.

Ultimately, Raghuram was selected as the new CEO of VMware. Poonen announced his departure from VMware shortly thereafter.

However, there have been no hard feelings between the two IT titans. In fact, both have been champions of each other’s IT careers and success.

In a move that sent shockwaves through the IT world, Raghuram ultimately decided to sell VMware to Broadcom for a whopping $61 billion.

Poonen Weighs In On Cohesity Hire

After departing VMware about one year ago, Poonen joined several boards and invested in some IT startups.

However, he was drawn to Cohesity due to its traction with Fortune 500 customers, executive leadership team and $25 billion market opportunity.

“I have finally decided it’s time to get back in the saddle of an operating role,” said Poonen in a blog post today. “Cohesity is a leading data management and data security company in the Silicon Valley. With over 3,000 customers, they have been doing very well in their market.”

Cohesity founder and CEO Mohit Aron first reached out to Poonen about taking over the company.

Aron, who also co-founded hyperconverged infrastructure standout and VMware competitor Nutanix, helped attract Poonen to the job.

“I spent the last few months getting to know Mohit and I was blown away by his smarts, his passion, and his integrity. He was a key architect of the Google File System, was the Founding CTO of Nutanix, and as such, his technical chops are respected in the industry for building the best tech in whatever he touches, bar none,” said Poonen. “The founding engineers at Cohesity are some of the best talents from Google and other companies.”

Aron will transition to becoming his company’s chief technology and product officer.

He will continue to lead Cohesity’s research and development, support and services and remain on the board of directors.

‘Data Is The New Oil’

Cohesity is in prime position to lead the data revolution, Poonen said, as data becomes the “new oil of the economy.”

“I’ve often told my GTM teams over the years – the world is made up of 5,000 large companies and 5 million small companies,” said Poonen. “As such, I see no reason why every company, government and organization – small and big – shouldn’t trust Cohesity with protecting their data! Everyone has data that needs to be backed-up, protected from ransomware, archived, and analyzed for risk and insights. Legacy architectures were not optimized for an environment where data is today – in any cloud, any app, any device.”

Cohesity’s new CEO said his company sits at the intersection of three of the highest priority business issues today: security, cloud and data management.

“This is at least a $25B Total Available Market where disruptive innovation allows the modern architectures to take share from legacy players – just the same way that Salesforce did to Siebel, Workday did to Peoplesoft, CrowdStrike did to Symantec, and so on,” Poonen said.

Cohesity is built for a multi-cloud era, with a superior modern platform that includes a self-managed and SaaS approach which creates an opportunity for the next decade, he added.

“If we continue to execute, Cohesity is poised to become a major powerhouse in the industry,” Poonen said.

Mark Haranas

Mark Haranas is an assistant news editor and longtime journalist now covering cloud, multicloud, software, SaaS and channel partners at CRN. He speaks with world-renown CEOs and IT experts as well as covering breaking news and live events while also managing several CRN reporters. He can be reached at mharanas@thechannelcompany.com.

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