EMC Federation Exodus Continues: VCE Sales Executive Departs For Qlik

VCE has lost a top sales executive, the latest in a string of departures from the EMC Federation as EMC quickly enters the crucial month of September.

Mark Thurmond, who until this week was senior vice president of global sales for VCE, was unveiled as the new executive vice president of worldwide sales and services at Qlik, a Radnor, Pa.-based developer of visual analytics for big data.

VCE did not respond to a request for more information, including who will replace Thurmond, by press time.

[Related: Longtime EMC, VMware Storage Exec Chuck Hollis Jumps To Oracle]

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The EMC Federation has lost three high-ranking executives in the past week or so. This is an especially crucial time for the EMC Federation as it moves into September, when a peace treaty between parent company EMC and activist investor Elliott Management expires, and when EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci may finally disclose retirement plans.

VMware CTO Ben Fathi told CRN via email on Sunday he has left the company, and is looking at a variety of new opportunities. Fathi, who as of Tuesday was still listed as VMware CTO, has yet to be replaced.

Fathi's departure came about the same time that Chuck Hollis, a longtime EMC storage executive who spent the past two years at VMware, left that company to join Oracle's converged infrastructure group, where he will be reporting to former EMC executive Dave Donatelli, who joined Oracle in March.

Furthermore, Pivotal Software CEO Paul Maritz last week stepped down from his executive role while remaining executive chairman of the company's board. Maritz was succeeded as CEO by Rob Mee, one of Pivotal's co-founders and, until now, the company's executive vice president for products and R&D.

VMware, which is more than 80 percent owned by EMC, is part of the EMC Federation, along with RSA, Pivotal, VCE, and EMC's Information Infrastructure division.

The change in EMC Federation leadership comes at a critical time for parent company EMC. EMC is under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management to break up the EMC Federation, which includes EMC, VMware, big-data and business-analytics software developer Pivotal, security developer RSA, and converged infrastructure developer VCE.

EMC and Elliott Management in January signed a standstill agreement under which Elliott Management expressed satisfaction that EMC was doing what it could to make changes favorable to investors. That agreement ends in September.

Adding to the uncertainty about the EMC Federation is speculation that EMC may purchase the remainder of VMware to cut operational costs, or even that VMware might buy parent company EMC via a downstream acquisition. VMware President and CEO Pat Gelsinger supposedly squelched the latter rumor, according to a report by an Israel-based publication, which talked to him in Israel this month.

Meanwhile, speculation continues over the possibility that Hewlett-Packard is considering acquiring EMC, either with or without VMware.

Jamie Shepard, senior vice president for health care and strategy at Lumenate, a Dallas-based solution provider and EMC channel partner, told CRN via email that it was interesting that Thurmond left so quickly to go to Qlik.

Thurmond did a lot of good things while with EMC storage, RSA Security and, finally, at VCE, Shepard wrote.

"[It] just blows me away that he is there. This is a real tell tale sign of the times. Thurmond was part of the EMC RAT Pack, so to speak. One of the old school original guys when EMC really began to hit their stride. For him to leave after 20+ years to go to an analytics firm is astounding to me," he wrote.

Shepard wrote that Thurmond tried to stay "in the family" by moving from EMC to RSA to VCE, but his departure is another sign that people in the EMC Federation are feeling massive pressure within EMC and from board members and investors to make their storage numbers even as the competition grows.

"Unsettling is the future for a lot of these guys, and going to a small analytics firm [like Qlik] is his way of showing everyone that farming data, data lakes for predictive outcomes, is where the money is at. Thurmond is no push over either, very channel focused, strong leader and well respected amongst his peers," he wrote.