Ex-Microsoft exec becomes CEO at Parallels

Six months after leaving Microsoft to join desktop virtualization vendor Parallels, executive Birger Steen has been promoted to CEO.

Six months after leaving Microsoft to join desktop virtualization vendor Parallels, executive Birger Steen has been promoted to CEO.

Steen joined Parallels in September 2010 as the company's president, and will take over the CEO role from Serguei Beloussov, who founded Parallels and will continue in a full-time role as president, chairman and chief architect.

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Steen had joined Microsoft in 2002 with a general manager position in Norway. He moved on to become general manager and vice president for Microsoft in Russia, and eventually served as Microsoft's vice president of small and medium business and distribution.

Although often overshadowed by virtualization vendors VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Parallels has built a successful business around easy-to-use desktop virtualization tools for Mac OS X, letting users run Windows and other operating systems on their Apple computers. Parallels also offers virtualization and automation tools to business customers, software vendors and hosting providers that enable delivery of cloud computing and software-as-service applications.

Parallels said it would announce the change in leadership Wednesday at the Parallels Summit, the vendor's user conference. Steen had been in charge of sales, marketing, product management and customer support and services.

"As company president, Steen oversaw the launch of the No. 1 selling and award-winning Parallels Desktop 6 for Mac and the widely adopted Parallels Plesk Panel 10," the vendor said in a press release. "Steen was also instrumental in creating a 'voice of the customer' program to help align Parallels and its product development more closely with its partners and customers."

A private company founded in 1999, Parallels says it is profitable and generating more than $100 million in revenue. The company was formerly known as SWsoft before a name change in 2008.

As CEO, Steen will be in charge of "all day-to-day execution including engineering sales, partner relationships, support, marketing and deployment services," as Parallels attempts to further its reach into the cloud enablement and desktop virtualization markets, and work more closely with service providers.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

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