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VMware Cloud Chief To Step Down

Bill Fathers is the latest high-level executive to quit the company in 2016.

Yet another high-ranking VMware executive is headed for the exit, continuing a trend that has to be troubling for the virtualization leader.

Fortune reported exclusively yesterday that Bill Fathers, who headed up vCloud Air, is leaving. He'll be replaced by two other executives, Allwyn Sequeira and Laura Ortman, according to Fortune. (Fortune said that VMware has confirmed the information). The new co-chiefs will report directly to Gelsinger, Fortune reported.

vCloud Air Struggles
Fathers's decision to step down comes at a troubled time for vCloud Air. As VMware's primary cloud offering, it was originally hoped that the product could compete in the public cloud space, to provide an alternative to market leader Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, sitting solidly in second place.

That never happened, and VMware has repositioned vCloud Air (originally named vCloud Hybrid Services, or vHCS) as an on-premises or hybrid cloud platform. But vCloud Air has struggled in that space too, as cheaper alternatives, like OpenStack, have gained traction. (Google's cloud efforts, which were foundering badly, got a shot in the arm when ex-VMware CEO Diane Greene was brought in to lead a new charge.) Media reports from last year have claimed that vCloud Air development was cut back, and no new features were being added to it.

A Parade of Departures
Fathers's departure comes fewer than two months after that of ex-president and COO Carl Eschenbach. Eschenbach left to join venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. Eschenbach followed closely on the heels of former CFO Jonathan Chadwick. Interestingly, Eschenbach's role was filled by multiple executives, similar to Fathers.

Fathers joined VMware in March 2013. Previous to that, he was president of Savvis Inc., a cloud infrastructure and hosted IT services company. He was in a key role at VMware, similar to Martin Casado, who headed VMware's crucial NSX business unit. Casado announced his exit the week before Eschenbach. Casado also left to was leaving to join a venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz.

All of the executive departures have happened since the announced acquisition of VMware parent company EMC by Dell. The merger, which is expected to get federal approval sometime this summer, has shaken up all the companies involved. Whether it's influencing the exodus from the top ranks of VMware is open to speculation. 

There was no immediate information about why Fathers decided to resign, or where he will go next.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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