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NetApp Bids Adieu To Two More Top Executives

Thomas Stanley and Joel Reich have left NetApp, with the retirement of Reich giving NetApp an opportunity to bring its storage-focused and cloud-focused business units together under a single executive, Brad Anderson.

Add two more to the number of executives who have left NetApp, but don't read too much into it, said a couple of longtime NetApp channel partners.

NetApp CEO George Kurian on Wednesday quietly unveiled the departure of the two executives--Joel Reich, executive vice president of NetApp's Storage Systems and Software Business Unit, and Thomas Stanley, senior vice president of the Americas--during the company's first fiscal quarter 2020 financial conference call.

Reich (pictured, left), who has been instrumental in pushing some of NetApp's top technology initiatives including hybrid cloud tech with consumption-based IT, the company's HCI hyper-converged infrastructure technology, and a close tie to Intel's Optane SD flash storage technology, is retiring from NetApp.

[Related: NetApp Financials Come In Better Than Company’s Expectation]

Stanley (pictured right), a top sales executive at NetApp who also worked closely with the company's channel partner community, left NetApp to take over the chief sales officer role at Emeryville, Calif.-based security vendor Tanium.  

The departures come on the heels of a couple other recent high-profile departures from NetApp.

Tom Mendoza, NetApp's vice chairman and its first sales leader, this week officially retired from the company after a 25-year run. Mendoza in July announced his pending retirement.

July also saw the move by Jean English, NetApp's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, depart to take on a new role as chief marketing officer at Santa Clara, Calif.-based cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks.

Both Reich and Stanley will be missed, but one should not necessarily be concerned about their departures, said John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and NetApp channel partner.

"They left after Mendoza," Woodall told CRN. "I wouldn't read too much into that. Not everyone gets to decide, 'I'm done.' It's a rare treat. Good for them."

Reich has been around for a long time, Woodall said.

"He has clearly done a lot of good things at and through NetApp for years," he said. "I suspect he has been planning this for a long time. I guess this is part of a planned transition."

Reich will be missed by many in the channel because he was the executive sponsor of NetApp's "A-Team" of channel partners and customers who helped evangelize the company, Woodall said.

Stanley and his smile will also be missed, Woodall said.

"He lightened up the room whenever he entered," he said. "It's a good move for him to go to security. It's a hot segment. If someone wants to move from data storage, security is the way to go. And he is getting a C-level role. Good for him."

Stanley is a team player, and likely left everything clearly on the table for his replacement, Woodall said. "I have a lot of respect for Thomas Stanley," he said. "He sets a very high bar."

Another NetApp channel partner who preferred to connect with CRN via text message anonymously, said that Reich likely had planned for his retirement for a long time.

Like Woodall, the solution provider praised Reich as an essential sponsor of the A-Team.

"Nothing more to read into it, just a new phase," the solution provider wrote. "Joel certainly has nothing more to prove."

With Stanley's departure, Henri Richard, executive vice president of worldwide field and customer operations, will lead NetApp's sales team for the Americas, a NetApp spokesperson told CRN.

Reich's replacement is a bit more complicated.

Brad Anderson, who has been serving a head of NetApp's Cloud Infrastructure business unit, has been promoted to NetApp executive vice president and general manager overseeing both the Cloud Infrastructure business unit and the Storage Systems and Software business unit.

Anderson, who prior to joining NetApp in January of 2018 spent years running business groups in HP Compaq and Dell, wrote in a blog post this week that while he is sad to see Reich leave, he is also excited to lead both business units.

"Bringing the two business units together under one roof means we can take an even more holistic approach to making NetApp easier to do business with and to accelerating our hybrid multicloud strategy," he wrote.

Anderson is a natural fit to work with a company like NetApp, which has a surplus of industry-leading technology, Woodall said.

"Brad is the kind of executive who looks at how to bring multiple products together with a single vision. … His promotion should help streamline NetApp's cloud business," he said. "People want the flexibility, the dynamism, of cloud, and want it everywhere. That's where NetApp's Data Fabric comes in. It will be exciting to see what happens as he brings the two business units together."

NetApp declined to discuss the departures of Reich and Stanley.

However, NetApp told CRN via an emailed statement that Reich has decided to retire from NetApp.  

"Among his many professional contributions, he introduced the industry’s first unified storage system and the first enterprise-class all-flash array product, the NetApp EF-Series. We thank him for his leadership and wish him well as he enjoys his retirement," the company wrote.

Stanley made the decision to leave NetApp on his own, NetApp told CRN. "We wish Thomas well, and thank him for his contributions," the company said.

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