Channel Cheers Tucci's Plans To Lead EMC Until 2013

EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci plans to continue his leadership of the storage giant through at least 2013, a move welcomed by solution providers looking for continued success from the company.

Tucci this week used EMC's fourth-quarter and full-year 2011 earnings conference to tell financial analysts that he is committed to leading the company for a year more than originally expected, and that he is working the Board of Directors to find his successor from within the company.

Tucci in the past indicated that he planned to retire in 2012, when he turned 65 years of age.

However, Tucci said at the conference call, EMC's Board requested he remain chairman and CEO into 2013 because of the company's business performance and sound prospects for continued success.

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"Equally as important to me is the fact that I am truly blessed and honored to work with an extremely talented senior executive team here at EMC and VMware," he said. "And they, to a person, have also been actively encouraging me to rethink my transition plans.

"From a personal perspective, I have never been more energized and excited about what this great company can accomplish," he added.

Tucci said he and the EMC Board expect his eventual successor will come from within EMC's current executive team, who he described as talented and experienced.

"I have already started to increase the responsibilities of my senior leadership team," he said. "And when the time is right, my successor will be named. Until then, we have much work to do, and I am extremely grateful that I have the strong support and commitment of our Board as well as our senior leadership team to work along side me as we pursue our full business potential."

The two executives most often mentioned as successors to Tucci are long-time EMCer David Goulden, CFO and executive vice president, and Pat Gelsinger, president and COO for EMC's information infrastructure products.

Gelsinger joined EMC in September of 2009, and was previously senior vice president and co-general manager of Intel's Digital Enterprise Group. Gelsinger was widely considered a likely successor to Intel CEO Paul Otellini, who is expected to retire some time in the next few years.

Solution providers were glad to hear Tucci's decision to continue his role at EMC during a time when the company is growing even as it is transitioning to a focus on the cloud.

Keith Norbie, vice president of sales at Nexus Information Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based solution provider and EMC partner, called Tucci the long-term "father figure" for EMC and the force behind the acquisitions of Data Domain, Isilon, and other companies that have made EMC the storage power it is today.

"There's a time and place for everything," Norbie said. "Joe will someday move on. But if I were the Board, I would want as much stability in the leadership as possible. A startup can get by with lesser leadership. But at the EMC level, you need a strong leadership no only to maintain the current position but to accelerate growth as the business changes."

Norbie, who said many of his peers are cheering for Gelsinger to eventually take over EMC when Tucci retires, said Tucci's decision to stay on until 2013 has another benefit. "It also gives time for Pat Gelsinger to get ready, or for someone else to pop up as a successor," he said.

Next: Tucci's Focus On Getting EMC Ready For The Future

Jamie Shepard, executive vice president of technology solutions at ICI, a Marlborough, Mass.-based solution provider and EMC partner, said Tucci has a great executive team, and that he leads them well.

EMC and the storage industry are facing huge changes in the business over the next few years, and EMC has been focusing on building the company through acquisitions, Shepard said.

Now, however, EMC will need to turn its entire focus to the cloud, Shepard said. "Tucci's experience is absolutely key," he said. "It's really good to have a guy who has been through a cycle or two. He's a forward thinker."

Tucci has also proved to be quite the "techie," Shepard said. "Because of Joe, EMC is now doing more internal development," he said. "Until now, EMC's been focused on acquisitions. Now it's back to developing great products."

Tucci also listens to his own team and to EMC's partners, and is quick to act on good advice, Shepard said. "Joe also calls it like it is," he said. "He always has a smile. And he's very confident."