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

Citrix Systems CEO Mark Templeton, who said in January that he'd be retiring within a year, has had a change of heart.

Templeton, 61, has made "a multi-year commitment" to stay on as CEO of Citrix, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based vendor said Thursday.

Citrix earlier this year hired Heidrick & Struggles, the Chicago-based executive search firm that handled Microsoft's CEO search, to help find Templeton's replacement.

Templeton took a leave of absence for personal reasons last October. After he returned, told Citrix's board that he'd changed his mind and wanted to continue on as CEO, a role he's held since 2001.

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[Related: Citrix Says CEO Search Is Ongoing, Doesn't Squash Rumors That Templeton Has Changed Mind About Retiring ]

"After completing our search process, and considering a number of qualified candidates, the Board concluded that Mark is the best leader to drive the Company forward at this time of dynamic change in our business," Citrix said in a press release.

"While I had planned to retire within the year following my leave of absence, my personal circumstances have changed, and I am more determined than ever to lead Citrix through its next wave of transformation," Templeton said in a statement.

Citrix's CEO succession "remains an important focus" and the company's board will "will continue to manage for the time" when Templeton does decide to retire, according to the press release.

Templeton, who joined Citrix in 1995 as vice president of marketing, is one of the tech industry's most well-respected CEOs. Unsurprisingly, Citrix partners were pleased to hear he'll be staying on as CEO.

"This is great news. Mark is a visionary and he understands and is committed to the channel," Jed Ayres, Chief Marketing Officer, MCPc, a Cleveland-based Citrix partner, told CRN.

"Mark is the heart and soul of Citrix and his presence will help to drive the business to new heights," said Joe Brown, president and co-founder of Accelera Solutions, a Fairfax, Va.-based partner.

"Mark's leadership and direction will continue to drive the evolution of mobile work styles, and the solutions that make them possible," Kennith Rindt, senior vice president of sales and strategic alliances at AEC Group, a Pittsburgh-based Citrix partner, said in an email.

But while the channel is happy to see Templeton staying, Citrix is facing strong competitive pressure from rival VMware, which has been hiring and acquiring in an attempt to usurp Citrix's traditional dominance in desktop virtualization.

Even Microsoft, a longtime Citrix ally, could be seen as a competitor now that it has launched Office for iPad, which eliminates the need for some of Citrix's software capabilities on mobile devices.

Citrix shares dropped 24 cents in Thursday regular session trading and were unchanged after hours. Citrix shares has risen just over 3 percent since the beginning of the year.

Several Citrix partners told CRN earlier this month they'd seen signs that Templeton might have changed his mind about retiring. "The word internally is that Mark works awfully hard for someone that is retiring," one partner told CRN at the time.