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VMware CTO Ben Fathi Departs As EMC Federation Executive Exodus Continues

With VMware's VMworld conference less than two weeks away, industry veteran and CTO Ben Fathi confirms that he has resigned from the company.

Ben Fathi, chief technology officer at VMware, has resigned after a three-and-a-half year run at the company, CRN has learned.

Fathi joined VMware in 2012 and was named VMware CTO in January 2014. He confirmed his departure in an email to CRN Sunday afternoon.

Fathi told CRN he's "talking to a few companies" but hasn't yet decided where he's headed next. His departure comes just over a week before the kickoff of VMware's annual VMworld customer conference in San Francisco, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept 2.

"Ben Fathi has decided to leave VMware. We thank Ben for his considerable contributions to VMware during his time with here, and we wish Ben the best in his next endeavor," a VMware spokesman said in an email.

Prior to being named CTO, Fathi was vice president of research and development in charge of the teams that build the core ESX hypervisor, vSphere and other products. VMware, in the years since Fathi joined, has branched out into software-defined networking, storage virtualization and hybrid cloud.

Fathi is the third high-ranking EMC Federation executive to step down in the past week. Former Pivotal CEO Paul Maritz stepped down from his role on Tuesday and is being replaced by Rob Mee, co-founder and executive vice president for products and R&D.

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Chuck Hollis chief strategist of storage and availability at VMware and a 19-year EMC veteran, revealed in a blog post Saturday that he's leaving to take a new role at Oracle starting Monday.

VMware is part of the EMC Federation, along with RSA, Pivotal, VCE, Virtustream and EMC's Information Infrastructure division.

EMC, which owns around 80 percent of VMware and has faced pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to spin it off, has reportedly been considering buying out the rest of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based virtualization vendor and absorbing it, in part to cut operational costs.

There has also been speculation that VMware might acquire EMC through a complex arrangement known as a downstream acquisition. In one scenario outlined by Re/code earlier this month, VMware would issue $50 billion to $55 billion in new shares, and then use about $30 billion of that to buy out EMC's VMware stake.

Prior to VMware, Fathi spent three years at Cisco as senior vice president of network operating systems, and 11 years at Microsoft in a number of roles, including corporate vice president of both security and Windows core development.

Fathi was at the epicenter of Microsoft customer angst over the User Account Control in Windows Vista, which many users found irritating because it generated too many alerts. "We've heard loud and clear that you are frustrated. You find the prompts too frequent, annoying, and confusing," Fathi wrote in a 2008 blog post.

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