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VMware’s New CEO: Dell Spin-Off Creates ‘Switzerland Of Multi-Cloud’

‘What you should look for in the coming weeks, months and years, is that our partnership with the broader ecosystem is as deep and as strong as it is with Dell today,’ says VMware’s new CEO Raghu Raghuram.

VMware’s new CEO Raghu Raghuram has bullish plans to create the worldwide leader in multi-cloud computing as an independent company following its spin-off from Dell Technologies.

“The fact that we’re getting spun out of Dell, you can almost think of us as the Switzerland of multi-cloud,” said Raghuram, VMware’s former chief operating officer and new CEO, in an interview with CRN. “We’re hardware agnostic, cloud agnostic and we can really focus on helping our customers run their applications and run their IT however they want to run it. We’re providing the tools to help them build new applications faster, run them across all of these locations, manage these applications, secure and protect them, etc. – that’s what we’re trying to do in a nutshell.”

With Dell spinning off its 81 percent majority stake in VMware later this year, Raghuram said VMware is already in talks with “broader ecosystem” vendors around forming deep strategic partnerships that will help VMware’s multi-cloud market takeover.

“The fact that we are an independent company enables other [vendor] partners who previously would have not been so keen to engage deeply on a deep strategic partnership with us, to now do so. I’ve already had, along with my team, engagements with some of these partners,” said Raghuram. “What you should look for in the coming weeks, months and years, is that our partnership with the broader ecosystem is as deep and as strong as it is with Dell today.”

[Related: Dell-VMware Spin-Off Deal: The 4 Biggest Myths And Rumors]

At the same time, Raghuram said VMware will keep its “deep and strong” product innovation and go-to-market partnership with Dell for the next five years through a commercial agreement.

“Regardless of the corporate ownership structure, we have had extraordinary technical collaboration and extraordinary go-to-market collaboration with Dell. What we have done now with the impending spin-off is, we have quantified this into a strategic business agreement and we’ll execute against that,” Raghuram said.

When Dell’s spin-off of VMware, which is expected to occur during the fourth quarter of 2021, is complete, VMware will be a standalone company for the first time since 2004.

“[Customers] need somebody that’s an industry-neutral partner to do [digital transformation] and that excites me. The possibility that now as an independent company for the first time since 2004, to be able to help our customers achieve their digital business transformation goals – that’s exciting,” said Raghuram.

Raghuram was named VMware’s CEO on Thursday after a nearly four-month search to find a new CEO to replace former CEO Pat Gelsinger earlier this year to lead Intel. Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware, which generated nearly $12 billion in its fiscal year 2021, has been led by interim CEO and chief financial officer Zane Rowe for the past several months.

Raghuram is a longtime VMware executive who first joined VMware in 2003 running product management for VMware vSphere and ESX.

During his 18-year tenure at VMware, Raghuram served in various general manager (GM) and executive vice president (EVP) roles, including GM of cloud infrastructure and management, as well as EVP and GM of VMware’s software defined data center division. Raghuram was most recently chief operating officer of Products and Cloud Services, responsible for all of VMware’s product and service offerings as well as centralized services, support and operational functions.

Josh Lee, director of sales at VirtuIT Systems, a Nanuet, N.Y.-based VMware partner, said he’s excited that a longtime VMware executive and technologist is taking over the reins.

“The sales engineer inside of me is excited about him as the new CEO — somebody who definitely understands and knows the technology,” said Lee. “With his background in cloud services, I’m excited to see what that’s going to do. With his track record, this is a good choice because everything is going to be moving on with no big changes and no big unexpected surprises. The last couple of years has been good for us. This is a good thing [Raghuram] was picked as the new CEO.”

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