5 Top VMware Execs Who Recently Departed (And 3 New Hires)

Here are the most significant VMware executive departures as well as the company’s top new hires.

VMware’s Biggest Recent Hires And Departures

As VMware continues to search for a new CEO, several of the company’s top leaders and longtime executives have departed VMware over the past few months.

Many of these executives were a staple inside VMware for over a decade and were leading key market segments such as cloud and 5G. However, the Palo Alto, Calf. -based virtualization and software superstar has been able to hire some serious talent recently hailing from the likes of Google Cloud and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

VMware generated a total of $11.8 billion in total revenue during its fiscal year 2021, which ended last month, representing a 9 percent sales jump annually. The hybrid cloud and Kubernetes standout is transforming itself to make Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and subscription sales a larger part of its overall revenue. SaaS and subscription sales were up a whopping 38 percent in fiscal year 2021 at $2.6 billion.

As VMware shakes up its executive bench, CRN breaks down the most significant VMware executives who recently left as well as some of the company’s most important new hires.

Shekar Ayyar (Exit)

Former Position: Executive Vice President and General Manager, Telco and Edge Cloud

Years At VMware: 14

As head of VMware’s Telco and Edge Cloud business, Shekar Ayyar led a global team focused on helping Communication Service Providers and customers modernize their network operations spanning from the core to the edge. Ayyar and his team were tasked with enabling organizations to deliver 5G-enabled enterprise and consumer services.

Ayyar spent the majority of its 14 years at VMware leading the company’s strategy and corporate development around its telco and Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) business as well as making key acquisitions including Nicira, AirWatch, VeloCloud and Heptio.

Ayyar left VMware this year to lead a newly formed independent special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) AdMY Technologies.

“I am very pleased to announce the formation and launch of AdMY,” said Ayyar in a statement. “This acquisition vehicle structure will greatly enhance the ability to identify, target and invest in candidates within the telco, 5G and edge industry. This is an exciting time for the telecommunications industry.”

Sanjay Uppal, senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s SD-WAN & SASE business, will take over Ayyar’s responsibilities in his current role.

Paula Hodgins (Hire)

Former Position: President, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Canada

VMware hired Paula Hodgins in February as its new senior vice president of Worldwide Global Accounts and Telco Sales. She was previously president of HPE Canada, responsible for leading sales, business operations, strategy, marketing and employee engagement in the country. At HPE, Hodgins ran all customer segments and supported some of Canada’s largest companies and government agencies.

“Paula brings experience and a unique skillset that will be invaluable as we continue to build and reinforce our trusted advisor status with VMware’s largest, most strategic global customers,” VMware told CRN last month.

Hodgins’ spent 13 years at Microsoft from 2005 to 2018 in roles including general manager for Intelligent Cloud Sales, responsible for enterprise Azure Cloud sales for customers in Canada. She was also chief operating officer for enterprise sales in the U.S. and Microsoft Canada.

Hodgins’ replaces VMware’s Dan Zugelder, who has been appointed senior vice president and general manager of the Americas.

Rajiv Ramaswami (Exit)

Former Position: Global Chief Operating Officer, Products and Cloud Services

Years At VMware: 4.5

In a move that shocked the industry, VMware’s cloud leader Rajiv Ramaswami left to become CEO and president of software rival Nutanix in December. The IT veteran spent four years serving as VMware’s global chief operating officer for Products and Cloud Services, where he co-led all business units developing products, cloud services and cloud operations at the company.

In an exclusive interview with CRN this week, Ramaswami touted Nutanix’s competitive edge over VMware in terms of channel partner opportunities.

“[VMware partners are] really missing out on a big chunk of the market opportunity. We have leadership share in HCI. We’re growing rapidly. We have a single-minded focus on this market and we have more than 18,000 loyal customers and we have plenty of white space opportunity,” said Ramaswami, who plans to scale Nutanix into a $2 billion software company. “Because ultimately, Nutanix is what the customers want.”

Anya Kuligina (Hire)

Former Position: Google Cloud’s Head of Global Demand and North America Regional Marketing

VMware this week nabbed 16-year Google veteran Anya Kuligina as its new vice president of Americas marketing. Kuligina led global demand marketing for Google Cloud as well as the North American regional marketing team.

“Along with having deep and wide experience in all facets of marketing across the US and the globe – including a stint in Australia - she brings a wealth of experience in applications, cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS),” said Pamela Cass, global vice president of field marketing and demand at VMware in a LinkedIn post this week. “A 16-plus year veteran of Google, Anya built and scaled Ads and Cloud businesses including her last role driving marketing the company’s fastest growing product line, Google Cloud.”


John Lens (Exit)

Former Position: Vice President, SDDC America’s

Years At VMware: 17

Vice president of VMware’s Software Defined Data Center (SDDC) business, John Lens, left VMware last month after a 17-year stint with the company. VMware’s SDDC business includes some of the company’s most popular products including vSphere, NSX, VMware Cloud Foundation, vSAN as well as VMware’s vRealize and vCloud solution suites.

Prior to his software defined data center role, Lens was VMware’s vice president of Virtual Network, Security and Automation for the Americas, where he led the company’s network, security and cloud management virtualization sales team in Canada, Latin America and the U.S. in all industry verticals.

“I am humbled and blessed to be part of this great company but more importantly to be working with amazing people like you for all these years,” said Lens in a LinkedIn post this week announcing his departure. “Long live VMware!”

Lens joined data analytics and automation specialist Alteryx as its new senior vice president of the Americas.

Jennifer Manry (Hire)

Former Position: Bank of America, CIO and managing director of Employee Technology

VMware hired Bank of America top executive Jennifer Manry last month as its new vice president of Financial Services Global Industries Group. Manry was formerly CIO and managing director of employee technology at the global financial firm for the past three years.

“Her vast expertise in the Financial Services vertical, combined with her best-in-class approach to IT and business outcomes, will accelerate our focus on vertical thought leadership and field partnership to drive solutions in this area for VMware,” said VMware to CRN.

Manry, who also serves on the advisory board for Women Who Code, held top executive positions at Capital One from 2010 to 2018.

Jon Robertson (Exit)

Former Position: President and General Manager, VMware Japan

Years At VMware: 14

Jon Robertson has decades of top-level executive experience working for the likes of EMC, SAP and VMware. After years of leading VMware’s operations and sales strategy in Japan as President and general manager, Robertson left this week to become President of Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ) for data analytics and cloud specialist Snowflake.

“Very excited to join the data cloud revolution at Snowflake. Looking forward to making it snow in APJ!” said Robertson in a LinkedIn post this week.

At VMware Japan, Robertson was in charge of sales, engineering, professional services, marketing, cloud services, legal and back office functions, and client engagement.

Pat Gelsinger (Exit)

Former Position: CEO

Years At VMware: 8.5

After eight and a half years of driving sales and reinventing VMware’s innovation strategy, CEO Pat Gelsinger jumped ship to become CEO of Intel on Feb. 15. During his tenure, Gelsinger nearly tripled VMware’s annual sales to nearly $12 billion, doubled the size of the company and led the company through several major transformation, while at the same time being voted the best CEO in America.

“I’m so proud of our continued incredible progress, almost tripling the company as we evolved from hypervisors to the software-defined data center and now the modern multi-cloud SaaS company,” said Gelsinger in his final message to VMware employees last month. “Our values are deeply ingrained across everything we do, and extraordinarily impacting for our customers, families, and communities worldwide. And I look forward to seeing VMware continue to blossom in the years to come.”

Gelsinger worked at Intel from 1979 to 2009, holding several top executive roles, including being appointed as the company’s first-ever chief technology officer in 2000.

VMware’s CFO Zane Rowe has been appointed interim CEO of VMware as the company’s board is leading a global executive search to find a new CEO.