30 Blockbuster IT Executive Moves Of 2014

The Revolving IT Door

There's no better word to describe 2014 when it comes to IT executive moves than "blockbuster." From Microsoft, to Juniper, to Oracle, to Symantec, major channel vendors were keeping the partners on their toes throughout the year with new CEOs and shaking up their executive lineups.

Take a walk down memory lane with CRN and revisit the biggest IT executive moves of 2014.

Satya Nadella

After months of speculation about who would land the role, Microsoft announced Satya Nadella as its new CEO in February. Nadella, a 22-year Microsoft veteran, had most recently served as executive vice president of the software giant's Cloud and Enterprise group. Throughout the year, Nadella has pushed his ideas of a mobile-first and cloud-first Microsoft, a departure from former CEO Steve Ballmer's focus on devices and services.

As part of Nadella's appointment as CEO, founder Bill Gates stepped down as chairman of the company. Gates remained on the board of directors in a new role as Technology Advisor.

Steve Bennett

Symantec kicked off a series of major changes in 2014 with the firing of CEO Steve Bennett in March. The board of directors said that, while Bennett was in the midst of leading a corporate overhaul of Symantec's product and go-to-market strategies, the company turnaround wasn't moving fast enough. Bennett had been CEO since 2012, after serving for several years as CEO of Intuit.

Michael Brown, who sat on the board of directors after the company's acquisition of Veritas, stepped in as interim CEO. The appointment was made permanent in September.

Greg Steinhafel, Brad Maiorino

After Target was hit by a massive credit-card breach late last year, with 40 million credit- and debit-card numbers stolen and projected costs of more than $148 million, the retailer started making some major changes to its executive lineup. First, President and CEO Gregg Steinhafel (pictured) stepped down in May. On top of that, Target named Brad Maiorino as its chief information security officer, tasked with protecting the company and its customers from security threats. Maiorino came to Target from General Motors, where he was chief information security and information technology risk officer. Target said at the time that Maiorino's appointment shows the retailer's commitment to improving security at the company for its customers.

Shaygan Kheradpir

Juniper saw a series of executive departures this year, the most high-profile of which was CEO Shaygan Kheradpir in November. After less than a year with the company, Kheradpir resigned after a review by the Juniper board into his conduct "in connection with a particular negotiation with a customer," the company said. He was replaced by Rami Rahim, executive vice president and general manager, Juniper Development and Innovation.

Partners at the time said that Kheradpir's departure added to the confusion they already felt with the networking giant after many executive departures over the past few months.

Meg Whitman

When Hewlett-Packard interim Chairman of the Board of Directors Ralph Whitworth revealed plans to step down due to health reasons, the company turned to CEO Meg Whitman. Partners cheered the appointment, which came three years after Whitman took the helm of the vendor. They said it showed a vote of confidence in the HP leader and her vision.

Whitman's role will change again as HP executes upon the company's split into two Fortune 50 companies announced in October. Whitman will be president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and nonexecutive chairman of HP Inc.

Steve Ballmer

After stepping down as CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer made a huge career shift, buying the NBA's Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion. In August, Ballmer announced that he would be stepping down from the Microsoft board of directors to have more time to focus on his new ownership role, as well as teaching and civic work. New Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella accepted the resignation, saying he would miss the "insight and leadership" that Ballmer brought to the board.

Marcelo Claure

Just days after dropping a bid to acquire rival T-Mobile, Sprint announced a new CEO in August. Marcelo Claure replaced Dan Hesse, who had been CEO since 2007. Claure came to Sprint from SoftBank subsidiary Brightstar, where he was CEO. However, he wasn't a stranger to Sprint as he had been a member of the board of directors since January.

Larry Ellison

In another blockbuster executive move for the channel this year, Larry Ellison announced in September that he would be stepping down as CEO of Oracle. While he is no longer CEO, Oracle hasn't seen the last of its founder, who is now in a new role as CTO and executive chairman of the company's board of directors. Ellison has been with Oracle since he founded the company in 1977.

Mark Hurd and Safra Catz have replaced Ellison as co-CEOs. Catz now handles all manufacturing, finance and legal functions. Hurd now oversees the sales, service and vertical units.

Taylor Rhodes

After speculation that it was up for an acquisition, Rackspace announced that it would remain independent in September. At the same time, it named a new CEO in Taylor Rhodes, who had previously served as Rackspace president. Rhodes also was added to the company's board of directors. Rhodes had been with the company since 2007, with previous positions at EDS and the U.S. Marine Corps.

Megan Smith

When the United States government was looking for a new CTO, it turned to Google executive Megan Smith. Announced in September, Smith comes to her new role after serving for nine years as vice president of new business development at Google.

"I am confident that in her new role as America's chief technology officer, she will put her long record of leadership and exceptional skills to work on behalf of the American people," President Barack Obama wrote in a blog post at the time.

Brian Gallagher

EMC announced a company organization in October, forming a new business unit focused on cloud management and orchestration. The storage vendor turned to executive Brian Gallagher to lead the new business unit. Gallagher most recently served as president of the Enterprise and Mid-range Systems group. His new role is president of cloud management and orchestration, where he is charged with helping customers work in the cloud independent of underlying technology.

Scott Guthrie

As Satya Nadella vacated his role as head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise group to become CEO, Scott Guthrie was tapped as his replacement. Guthrie most recently served as corporate vice president of the Windows Azure Application Platform. He has been at Microsoft since 1997, additionally holding positions as corporate vice president of Microsoft's .Net platform and of the Server and Tools business. Guthrie was named to the role on an interim basis in February, and the position was made official in March.

Jason Chen

After a tough year for the computer maker in 2013, Acer finally named a new president and CEO on Jan. 1. Jason Chen will replace founder Stan Shih, who has returned to the company as chairman and interim CEO in December of last year. Shih will remain in his role as chairman while Chen will assume leadership of the company as CEO. Chen most recently served as senior vice president of worldwide sales and marketing at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC). Prior to that, he spent 14 years at Intel in a variety of executive roles.

Symantec Split Shuffle

After Symantec said it would be splitting in two in October, it also announced a series of executive shuffles to accommodate the new company structure. Former Hewlett-Packard channel chief Adrian Jones was named as global senior vice president of sales. Twelve-year Symantec veteran Brett Shirk will be leading global sales for the information management company spinoff, Symantec said. The two executives will remain in their current roles until the split is finalized, which is expected in late 2015.

Chris Wolf

In February, VMware announced Chris Wolf would be joining the virtualization company as CTO of the Americas. In his new role, Wolf will lead VMware's product development around cloud and mobile computing. He comes to VMware from Gartner, where he was a research vice president for four years. Prior to Gartner, he worked as a senior analyst at the Burton Group, as well as principal consultant and founder of Chris Wolf Consulting Services, which focused on virtualization, backup and recovery technologies.

Dion Weisler

As Hewlett-Packard executes on its split into two Fortune 50 companies, Dion Weisler will become president and CEO of HP Inc., a $56 billion PC and printing business. Weisler currently serves as executive vice president of HP's Printing and Personal Systems business. While Weisler will be leading the charge, and current HP CEO Meg Whitman will still have a hand in the new company as chairman of the HP Inc. board of directors.

The split is expected to be completed by the end of HP's fiscal year 2015, which ends on Oct. 31, 2015.

David Goulden

In January, EMC promoted David Goulden to a new role as CEO of EMC Information Infrastructure, a division that includes the company's core enterprise storage business. The move was significant as Goulden is widely viewed as a top candidate for the imminent retirement of EMC CEO Joe Tucci next year. Goulden most recently served as president and COO of EMC's Information Infrastructure, and has been with the company for more than 10 years.

Dan Warmenhoven

In April, NetApp shook up its executive lineup with several high-profile moves, starting right at the top with the departure of Chairman and former CEO Dan Warmenhoven (pictured). The 20-year industry veteran planned to retire in September. Replacing Warmenhoven as chairman is Tom Georgens, who succeeded Warmenhoven as CEO in 2009. Robert Salmon will replace Georgens as president of NetApp, as well as head of go-to-market operations. Salmon most recently served as executive vice president of worldwide field operations at NetApp.

Jim Hagemann Snabe

After announcing his intention to leave SAP in July 2013, co-CEO Jim Hagemann Snabe stepped down on May 21 of this year. His departure left Bill McDermott as the company's sole CEO. After more than 20 years with the company, Snabe said it was time to begin the next phase of his career and spend more time with his family.

Kaspersky Management Exodus

In mid-April, a group of managers left Kaspersky Lab after disagreements over how founder and CEO Eugene Kaspersky was running the company and a "disagreement" over business strategy, Reuters reported. One of those departures included Stephen Orenberg, president of Kaspersky's North American business and a 10-year company veteran. Nikolay Grebennikov, CTO and head of the research department, Petr Merkulov, North American executive vice president, and John Malatesta, global head of corporate marketing, also left the company.

Matthew Mills

Oracle Senior Vice President of North America sales Matthew Mills resigned in August of this year after more than 21 years with the company. Mills had been in charge of the technology, hardware and public-sector markets for the region and was well-respected by partners as someone who understood the importance of the channel. The reason for his departure was unclear at the time, but partners said they had been seeing a lot of turnover at the company.

Simone Brunozzi

VMware nabbed one of Amazon's top cloud executives in February. Simone Brunozzi, formerly senior technology evangelist at Amazon Web Services, jumped ship to VMware to serve as vice president and chief technologist for hybrid cloud. In his new job, Brunozzi was charged with leading VMware's hybrid cloud play, an increasingly crucial business for the virtualization software maker.

Lenovo Reorganization Shuffle

Lenovo kicked off the year with a corporate reorganization that structured the company into four main groups and shuffled the executive lineup. Gerry Smith was named as head of Lenovo's Enterprise Group, including the server and storage divisions, which added to his duties as executive vice president of the Americas. Gianfranco Lanci was named as the head of Lenovo's new PC Business Group. Lanci previously served as COO and executive vice president of Lenovo's EMEA business. Liu Jun was named as head of Lenovo's newly formed Mobile Business Group, which includes smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. Finally, Lenovo named George He as the head of the new Ecosystem and Cloud Services Group.

Mitch Breen

In another Oracle departure this year, Senior Vice President of North American sales Mitch Breen left the company after only eight months on the job. Breen left the position to become senior vice president of global sales at SimpliVity, an up-and-coming converged infrastructure developer. Breen came to Oracle from EMC, where he worked for more than two decades in various channel and sales roles.

Samsung Executive Shuffle

After a tough year for Samsung smartphone sales, the company fired several high-ranking mobile executives, according to The Wall Street Journal. While Samsung didn't say exactly who had left the company and who would be reassigned, it was clear that CEO and head of Samsung mobile operations J.K. Shin was there to stay. The executive shuffle was in response to dropping Samsung smartphone sales, with market share dipping from 32.5 percent to 23.8 percent in the past year.

Rajeev Suri

After Nokia sold off its mobile phone business to Microsoft last year, it was on the hunt for a new leader. In April, Nokia named longtime company veteran Rajeev Suri as the new president and CEO. Suri most recently served as CEO of Nokia Siemens Network (NSN). He also has held positions at Nokia as head of global services at NSN and senior vice president of Asia-Pacific at Nokia.

Christopher Doggett

In April, Kaspersky Lab promoted its channel chief Christopher Doggett to the role of managing director of the company's North America region. Doggett had first joined Kaspersky in 2012 as vice president of North American channel sales. Doggett is filling the vacancy left by Stephen Orenberg in May.

The channel chief vacancy was filled in July with the addition of former Juniper executive John Murdock. At Juniper, Murdock was credited with helping build out the networking vendor's inside sales team and launch its worldwide channel program. Murdock has been charged with helping develop the company's channel program and expand its reseller base.

Todd Bradley

TIBCO Software had a major executive win in June, partners said, with the addition of Hewlett-Packard executive Todd Bradley to its lineup. Bradley joined the business intelligence software maker after leading HP's PC business for eight years, most recently as executive vice president of strategic growth initiatives. Prior to that, Bradley was executive vice president of Printing and Personal Systems at HP.

Tony Bates

With new CEO Satya Nadella at the helm, some Microsoft executives were ready to head out. One of those executives was former CEO candidate Tony Bates, who was executive vice president of business development and evangelism. Bates left the software giant in March and was later appointed president by GoPro as the company prepared for its IPO. Bates joined Microsoft in 2011 with the company's acquisition of Skype, where he was CEO. He also held positions at Cisco, where he was senior vice president and general manager of the company's Enterprise, Commercial and Small Business Group.

Nikesh Arora

Google announced in July that its longtime chief business officer and reportedly top paid executive Nikesh Arora would be leaving after more than a decade with the company. Arora was leaving his position to join Japan-based SoftBank as CEO of Internet and Media operations and vice chairman.

Omid Kordestani was named interim chief business officer, a position that was made permanent in October.