EMC World: VMware CEO Gelsinger Absent From Conference Stage

Pat Gelsinger

One top executive will be notably absent from the EMC World conference agenda: VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger.

As CEO for the past four years, Gelsinger was featured prominently at prior years' EMC World conferences. But that was before EMC, which owns 81 percent of VMware, agreed to be acquired by Dell in a $60 billion deal expected to close sometime before October.

It appears Gelsinger's usual spot on the EMC World agenda will be taken by Dell CEO Michael Dell, who is scheduled to speak Monday morning. Also presenting on Monday morning in Las Vegas are EMC CEO Joe Tucci; David Goulden, CEO of EMC's Information Infrastructure division; and Rodney Rogers, CEO of EMC-owned cloud software vendor Virtustream.

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VMware and EMC spokespeople declined to discuss the presence or absence of Gelsinger at the EMC World via emailed statements, but said that VMware will have a significant presence at EMC World.

Ray O'Farrell, VMware executive vice president and chief technology officer, will take part in the Tuesday EMC World keynote, and Kit Colbert, who leads VMware's Cloud-Native Apps group, will be a part of the Wednesday keynote, the VMware spokesperson told CRN in the VMware response.

Still, the VMware CEO's absence from the program came as a surprise to solution providers who are wondering if there is more than meets the eye to Geslinger's absence from the main stage.

"At a time like this, he should be front and center at EMC World, talking about the open strategy that [Dell CEO] Michael Dell is always talking about," said a longtime EMC-VMware partner.

"I am surprised by that," said another top EMC partner.. "But I think it's because they've decided to put the focus on EMC, and I would just chalk it up to the fact that the focus is on EMC, not on VMware. The companies operate independently. They have their own trade shows, their own go-to-market strategies. VMware is much more agnostic. It prides itself on that. It partners with HP, it partners with Dell, it partners with Cisco, and my instincts are that that's not going anywhere."

A third solution provider, who also wished to remain anonymous, said Gelsinger has other opportunities to spread the VMware message besides EMC World.

"EMC World is a big event," the solution provider said. "And VMworld is a big event. There are lots of opportunities for Pat to be the star of the ball."