VMware Hires Cognizant SVP As Digital Transformation Leader

VMware has nabbed former Cognizant top executive and former U.S. Navy SEAL veteran Mike Hayes to drive the virtualization superstar’s Software-as-a-Service market push.


VMware has hired former Cognizant top executive Mike Hayes as its new chief digital transformation officer in a move to accelerate the company’s Software-as-a-Service push.

Hayes will lead the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company’s worldwide business operations and VMware’s effort to drive more sales via Software as a Service (SaaS). He officially joined VMware Oct. 13.

Prior to VMware, Hayes was senior vice president and head of strategic operations at 270,000-employee IT services powerhouse Cognizant, ranked No. 6 on CRN’s 2020 Solution Provider 500 list. He was responsible for Cognizant’s largest customers in banking and financial services, and led a change management program to drive scale and growth for the company’s largest accounts, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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Outside the IT world, Hayes is a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Navy SEALs, including serving as the Navy SEAL Team Two Commanding Officer in Afghanistan. Hayes could not be reached for comment by press time.

For the past few years, VMware has been pushing to make SaaS and subscription sales a larger portion of its overall revenue. The company’s SaaS strategy has seen great success over the past 12 months due to sales growth in offerings such as VMware Cloud on AWS, which is growing at a triple-digit clip, along with high demand in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and end-user computing (EUC).

During VMware’s recent second fiscal quarter 2021, the virtualization star reported SaaS and subscription revenue of $631 million, up 44 percent year over year and representing 22 percent of VMware’s total revenue.

“We expect our [SaaS] momentum to continue,” said VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger during the company’s second fiscal quarter earnings report with media and analysts in August. “The new areas like security and Pivotal, as we bring those into the company and we start having success in making those part of our bigger sales and bigger deals, we expect that’s going to be an area of acceleration and those are subscription and SaaS, [as well as] areas like EUC and VDI offerings.”

Gelsinger said in the COVID-19 pandemic environment, “where there just has been an acceleration of cloud and SaaS offerings overall—we’re leaning into that.”

Within subscription and SaaS, the largest revenue contributors include modern applications, EUC, Carbon Black and sales via the VMware Cloud Provider Program. Looking ahead at VMware’s current third fiscal quarter, VMware is expecting combined subscription, SaaS and license revenue to be $1.26 billion, up 6 percent year over year, with subscription and SaaS contributing more than half of the revenue.

In another VMware executive move this week, VMware promoted Jason Conyard to the role of chief information officer. Conyard previously was vice president of IT, colleague experience and technology at VMware. He will lead the company’s global information and technology organization, a group that manages critical technology systems supporting the company’s global business operations.