Pat Gelsinger And 3 VMware Execs Who Recently Jumped Ship

Here are the four biggest VMware executives, including CEO Pat Gelsinger, who have recently left the virtualization and software superstar.

The Biggest VMware Execs Who Recently Departed

Several of VMware’s most critical leaders have jumped ship to other companies over the past several months including its longtime CEO Pat Gelsinger.

These major executive departures come as the Palo Alto, Calif.-based visualization superstar is transforming itself into a subscription and software-as-a-service (SaaS) company with big investments in emerging markets such as Kubernetes, hybrid cloud and edge computing. Both the sales and innovation engines at VMware have yet to slow down amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, with total revenue reaching $2.86 billion for its recent third fiscal quarter, up 8 percent year over year.

However, many of VMware’s key cloud and channel executives have left the company since 2020.

With Dell Technologies spin-off of its 81 percent stake in VMware still expected to take place this year, CRN breaks down the four biggest VMware executives who have, or will so be, departing from the company.

Pat Gelsinger

Left To Become: CEO of Intel

Replaced By: Interim CEO Zane Rowe

After eight and a half years of bolstering sales and reinventing VMware innovation strategy, CEO Pat Gelsinger is jumping ship to become CEO of Intel.

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.

“It has been the honor of my lifetime to serve as the CEO of VMware,” said Gelsinger in a statement last week. “We have transformed the global technology landscape for the better, and I am confident that the company will continue to excel as they enable customers with the digital foundation for an unpredictable world.”

Gelsinger worked at Intel in the beginning of his IT career from 1979 to 2009, holding several top executive roles, including being appointed as the company’s first-ever chief technology officer in 2000. “I am thrilled to rejoin and lead Intel forward at this important time for the company, our industry and our nation,” Gelsinger said. “Having begun my career at Intel and learned at the feet of Grove, Noyce and Moore, it’s my privilege and honor to return in this leadership capacity.”

Gelsinger will become CEO of Intel effective Feb. 15, 2021.

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, permanent CEO.

Rajiv Ramaswami

Left To Become: CEO of Nutanix

Replaced By: Raghu Raghuram

VMware is currently suing its former Chief Operating Officer Rajiv Ramaswami after his departure from VMware to become CEO of rival Nutanix.

Ramaswami was chief operating officer of products and cloud services at VMware for the past four years before jumping to Nutanix in December to replace retiring CEO and co-founder Dheeraj Pandey.

At VMware, Ramaswami was responsible for business units developing products, cloud services and cloud operations.

VMware has filed litigation in the Superior Court of the State of California against Ramaswami accusing him of meeting with Nutanix executives in his bid for Nutanix’s opening CEO position during the same time he was tasked with building and running VMware’s cloud business. VMware is taking Ramaswami to court for “material and ongoing breaches of his legal and contractual duties and obligations to VMware,” said VMware in a statement.

Ramaswami is an industry all-star with a career spanning three decades in top executive roles for VMware, Broadcom, Cisco, Nortel and IBM.

VMware’s Raghu Raghuram replaced Ramaswami and is now leading the company’s entire Products and Cloud Services team while he continues in his role as executive vice president and COO.

Ajay Singh

Left To Become: Chief product officer of Pure Storage

Replaced By: Purnima Padmanabhan

Nutanix’s new CEO Rajiv Ramaswami isn’t the only cloud leader to recently leave VMware. Just weeks after Ramaswami’s departure, VMware’s cloud management head Ajay Singh left to become Chief Product Officer for storage standout Pure Storage.

Singh was senior vice president and general manager of VMware’s Cloud Management business unit, which includes vRealize and vCloud product suites, for the past six years. He helped scale VMware’s worldwide Cloud Management business from $1 billion to more than $2.1 billion over his tenure. The 27-year technology veteran was responsible for delivering VMware’s cloud management vision and solutions for hybrid clouds to customers.

“I have had long-standing admiration for Pure and I could not be more eager to be a part of this world-class team,” said Singh in a statement. “Pure is rightfully a disruptor and an innovator, meeting customers where they are and enabling them on a path forward to transform their environments.”

Before VMware, Singh was senior vice president and General Manager of Hewlett Packard’s IT Operations Management Software Business. He was also the CEO of Elastic Intelligence, an infrastructure platform-as-a-service company, which was acquired by Intuit.

VMware told CRN that its vice president, Purnima Padmanabhan, has been promoted into Singh’s role.

Jenni Flinders

Left To Become: Unknown

Replaced By: Sandy Hogan

After launching VMware’s first new global partner program in more than a decade with Partner Connect, Jenni Flinders quietly departed the company last year.

Flinders had been VMware’s global channel chief, responsible for the company’s massive channel partner community of thousands of solution providers across the globe. After being hired as vice president and global channel chief in 2018, after spending 15 years in various executive roles at Microsoft, Flinders immediately began introducing VMware Master Services Competencies and let VMware partners know of her plans to completely overhaul VMware’s partner program.

However, Flinders departed VMware sometime in the summer without a formal announcement. After VMware confirmed to CRN that Flinders was no longer with the company, VMware announced Sandy Hogan as her replacement.

Hogan has nearly three decades worth of experience including a 15-year stint at Cisco with roles such as global vice president of Cisco’s Digital Transformation Group.