Pivotal shakeup brings a new CEO to the helm

Pivotal Labs cofounder Rob Mee is the company's new leader

Enterprise software and services vendor Pivotal Software on Tuesday announced that company CEO Paul Maritz is stepping down and will be replaced by Rob Mee, its executive vice president of products and R&D.

Maritz, who had been CEO since 2012, will serve on Pivotal’s board of directors in the newly created position of executive chairman. Previously, he was CEO of VMware and a senior executive at Microsoft.

“My career as an operational manager is over,” Maritz told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.

Pivotal did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mee cofounded Pivotal Labs in 1989. The company was acquired by EMC in 2012, but then a year later EMC and its VMware subsidiary launched Pivotal Software as a self-standing company to offer a data-analysis platform as a service (PaaS) based on software from both companies, including Pivotal Labs.

General Electric made a $105 million investment in the new firm.

“During his 15 years at Microsoft, Martitz led development of most of the company’s major platforms, including Windows 95 and NT and IE,” noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

Later, VMware prospered under Maritz as well, steadily gaining financial and market momentum while successfully going head to head against stiff competition, including Microsoft’s free Hyper-V virtualization platform, King said.

At Pivotal, Maritz has “again succeeded in spades,” King added. “The fact that he will remain with the company as executive chairman means that the company will continue to have access to his insights and experience.”

Pivotal also announced Tuesday that its Pivotal Cloud Foundry subscription platform has surpassed $100 million in its annual run rate for bookings.

“What I often find interesting about announcements like this are the words ‘stepping down,’” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group. “It sounds like a demotion, but the CEO reports to the executive chairman, not the other way around.”

Meanwhile, “given Rob Mee’s pedigree, if they didn’t promote him, he was highly likely to either start his own firm or be successfully recruited to run something else,” Enderle said. “With this move, Paul gets some free time and Mee stays right where they want him, running Pivotal.”

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