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New Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen: ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’

Joseph F. Kovar

‘I have always sort of dreamed of having a technologist who I could partner with. I know certain products and product management and technology. But I also have a lot of experience and skills in go-to-market. I don‘t think this combination exists with anybody else in the data management space, where you’ve got an incredible technologist and a powerful go-to-market combination,’ says Cohesity CEO Sanjay Poonen in reference to Cohesity co-founder Mohit Aron.

Cohesity co-founder Mohit Aron
Cohesity co-founder Mohit Aron

So why did Mohit decide that it’s important for him now to step aside as president and CEO to focus more on the product side? What’s changing in terms of what he‘s doing?

That was to me also an important question. Certainly, you should ask him that question. But I would say that he felt like he was really good at going really deep on technology, and his passion wasn‘t really having to run the whole company, the sales and marketing ecosystem. And he went to the board. It was his decision. I mean, I was very concerned that Cohesity was losing him. In fact, I spent the last few months very discreetly and going for walks with him to get a sense that he is not lost any steam, because I wasn’t going to go into this company if he was checking out. I wanted to make sure that he was fully engaged.

And he wants to go deep in product and the innovations he has built so far, and focus on taking that to the next level, which is fantastic for me. We need to be like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, the Splash Brothers. And it doesn‘t matter who gets the ball, they score and win because of strength in numbers. So in some sense, I have always sort of dreamed of having a technologist who I could partner with. I know certain products and product management and technology. But I also have a lot of experience and skills in go-to-market. I don’t think this combination exists with anybody else in the data management space, where you‘ve got an incredible technologist and a powerful go-to-market combination.

So that‘s the opportunity I saw. I looked at the landscape, I looked at competitors, and I feel like the two of us can beat any of them. So now game on. I feel the two of us can go cement incredible partnerships, convince any customer. And I don’t think we‘re going to compete with the public cloud guys because they could all be big partners of ours. I don’t want to compete with the big application players like Salesforce or SAP because they can all be partners of ours. So I think the odds of success are very high. I just have to keep making sure that Mohit’s motivated, and he is, as we embark on the journey. It‘s not a raw startup starting from $0 million revenue. They’ve got 3,000 customers. They’re well established. They filed a confidential S-1 last year. So it‘s not completely mature, but it’s a reasonably mature company which now just needs to be taken to the next level. I felt there wasn‘t as much awareness of who Cohesity is. I mean, many companies haven’t heard of their brand. But that‘s something that starts to change starting today.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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