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Red Hat Names Paul Cormier President and Chief Executive Officer

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Red Hat

Red Hat, Inc., the world's leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that it has named Paul Cormier as president and chief executive officer of Red Hat, effective today. Cormier, who previously served as Red Hat’s president of Products and Technologies, succeeds Jim Whitehurst, who is now president of IBM.

Since joining Red Hat in 2001, Cormier's leadership and vision have driven major strategy shifts and expansion of the company’s portfolio of products and services. Cormier is credited with pioneering the subscription model that transformed Red Hat from an open source disruptor to an enterprise technology mainstay, moving Red Hat Linux from a freely downloadable operating system to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, the industry’s leading enterprise Linux platform that today powers more than 90% of Fortune 500 organizations.

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Get to know Red Hat president and CEO, Paul Cormier

  • Get to know Red Hat president and CEO, Paul Cormier

    For the past 20 years, Paul Cormier has helped design, craft and ultimately drive Red Hat's product direction, from the communities we support to the new technology sectors we enter. Now as president and CEO, Paul will be responsible for executing the vision for Red Hat as a whole, not just as our product leader.

    So what makes Paul tick, what’s his background and what do you need to know about him? Read on to find out more!

Email to associates from Red Hat president and CEO, Paul Cormier

  • Email to associates from Red Hat president and CEO, Paul Cormier

    Hi everyone,

    I know it’s unusual to talk about a change like this in this way, normally we would be together, and trust me, I would love to be. But the reality is we’re here. Once again, Red Hatters have come through in a big way for each other and for our customers and partners even under these challenging conditions. This is going to be a marathon and it’s more important than ever to continue to support one another right now.

    In light of all of this, I’ve thought about how interesting it is to take on this new role at this time. But, I believe that this is yet another step in the journey that we’ve all been through. The journey of the last 25+ years of Red Hat’s history has been filled with many obstacles. We’ve conquered many together. Trust that Red Hat will come out stronger on the other side. We always have.

    We still have a lot to accomplish and together we will. You may have heard me say that for 19 years I’ve had the same job, but that’s not entirely true. The last 19 years have not been a job, they’ve been an adventure! But even more importantly, Red Hat’s journey has been my journey. I’m excited to lead Red Hat in a new capacity and continue the journey.

    Looking back to when I joined, we were in a different position and facing different issues, but the spirit was the same. We were on a mission to convince the world that open source was real, safe and enterprise-grade. To do that we had to take risks. Some of those risks were product-related, like the shift to Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and some were M&A decisions, like our acquisition of Qumranet (which led to Red Hat Virtualization) and eNovance (which expanded Red Hat Consulting and our OpenStack expertise).

    We had the fortitude to take these risks along with the people to tackle them skillfully, ultimately helping to drive real change in the IT industry. Because of our close ties with open source communities, we are able to see trends building before much of the world does. I recall being on stage at Red Hat Summit in 2007 talking about the idea of any application, anywhere, anytime, which very quickly led to open hybrid cloud. No one, and I mean no one, was talking about it at that time. There’s an immense feeling of pride that each and every Red Hatter should feel knowing that the technology industry wouldn’t be what it is today and open source wouldn’t be as dominant without Red Hat. We are all a part of that history.

    From those beginnings we’ve brought open source to the point that it's THE development methodology for many areas of enterprise computing including infrastructure, application development and associated tools, and bluntly, real innovation. We not only built our expansive product portfolio using open source methodologies, but we built a company around it. If there’s a secret to our success or a reason why pundits ask if there "will ever be another Red Hat," that’s it: It takes more than just products to build a company. It takes all of us, across all teams and regions, working together. We all play an important role in not only our success and our future, but also the greater success of open source and next-generation computing as a whole, and to continue making Red Hat a great place to work.

    Red Hat is at the point where we’ve grown our "Linux company" into a powerhouse, one that serves as a model to others, making us a target for a broad set of competitors, from start-ups to established, publicly-traded behemoths. Sometimes it feels like everyone is now in the commercial Linux and container business (remember containers are Linux), a place that we’ve been building to since 2001.

    But I don’t see competition as a bad thing. If we weren’t winning and weren’t a dominant force, people wouldn’t be trying to compete with us. This pushes us to continue to innovate and deliver for our customers, while not becoming complacent. What I see is that we’ve gone from customers who might want to work with us to customers who depend on us. Organizations around the world are embracing open source as not only a powerful development model to build quality software but also as a better way to work together. Our company vision has turned into the industry vision.

    To further drive this expansive vision home, Jim Whitehurst came into Red Hat and embraced the open development methodology that has been the cornerstone of our product strategy and took it all the way across the organization. Creating an open organization that many companies now want to emulate. Jim will continue to be a strong ally for Red Hat in his new role as president of IBM alongside Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM. Arvind has been a powerful advocate for Red Hat’s independence and a champion for this both inside IBM and externally. He is committed to keeping Red Hat Red Hat and he knows that part of that is having someone in this leadership position that understands us and what makes the company tick. Someone with the experience and intuition to understand our journey, and an appreciation for our unique culture and way of working. IBM knows that the best way for us to continue to lead the industry is to allow us to stay on our mission while helping us scale.

    Every year when I stand up at Red Hat Summit to deliver my keynote and look out at the crowd, it’s the most emotional moment for me. Even after all these years I still get that same wild rush: we built this. We created this unique company that changed the industry.

    All that said, future success in technology is not a birthright. As Red Hatters, we know we have to earn it each and every day with our customers. I’m ready to take the next step with you and continue on our journey to being the defining technology company of the 21st century.

    I talked earlier about my 19 year journey, call on me and other leaders at any time to help you in your journey at Red Hat. Stay well. Stay in touch.

Early press coverage

Press release reprinted

Red Hat appoints Paul Cormier as CEO

  • Red Hat appoints Paul Cormier as CEO

    He is credited with pioneering the subscription model that helped the company transform from an open source disruptor into an enterprise technology mainstay. Cormier was also '"instrumental" in helping the company combined with IBM following its $34 billion acquisition. "When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere," Cormier said in a statement. "The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities. The opportunity for Red Hat has never been bigger than it is today and I am honoured to lead the company to help our customers solve their challenges and to keep Red Hat at the forefront of innovation."

    Having worked with him at Red Hat for more than a decade, Whitehurst said that Cormier was the "natural choice" to lead the company. The IBM president called Cormier the driving force behind its product strategy and explained that he understands how to help its customers and partners make the most out of their cloud strategies. "He is a proven leader and his commitment to open source principles and ways of working will enable Red Hat not only to keep pace with the demands of enterprise IT, but also lead the way as emerging technologies break into the mainstream," said Whitehurst. "It was my honour and privilege to lead a company filled with many of our industry's best and brightest and I am excited to see what Red Hatters accomplish under Paul's leadership."

IBM CEO Arvind Krishna shakes up leadership team on first day

  • IBM CEO Arvind Krishna shakes up leadership team on first day at the helm

    Krishna helped shape IBM’s hybrid cloud and AI initiatives in his previous role as vice president of cloud and cognitive software. The CEO is now appointing Howard Boville, formerly Bank of America Corp.’s chief technology officer, as senior vice president of cloud platform to lead the IBM Cloud business unit. The unit is already a central pillar of IBM’s strategy and is set to become an even bigger focus in the new strategic roadmap.

    The AI component of the strategy is being entrusted to newly appointed IBM President Jim Whitehurst. Whitehurst was previously CEO of Red Hat. In his new role, the executive will head IBM Strategy as well as the Cloud and Cognitive Software unit that Krishna led before taking over the top post.

    Two more key executives will take on new roles in the company’s leadership team. Bridget van Kralingely, previously the head of IBM’s global industries, clients, platform and blockchain units, will become senior vice president of global markets. The executive will now be responsible for “simplifying our go-to-market strategies across all business units as well as strengthening IBM’s client-centric culture,” Krishna wrote.

    Whitehurst’s previous CEO post at Red Hat is being handed to Paul Cormier, a 19-year veteran of the company who has until now served as vice president of engineering.

    As the new top executive at Red Hat, Cormier is poised to play a key part in shaping IBM’s strategy. On top of naming hybrid cloud as one of the company’s two core imperatives, Krishna told employees that “we have to win the architectural battle in cloud.” He elaborated that “there’s a unique window of opportunity for IBM and Red Hat to establish Linux, containers and Kubernetes as the new standard. We can make Red Hat OpenShift the default choice for hybrid cloud in the same way that Red Hat Enterprise Linux is the default choice for the operating system.”

Why not the best? Red Hat vet Paul Cormier takes over as CEO

  • Why not the best? Red Hat vet Paul Cormier takes over as CEO

    In 2001, it was anyone's guess who would be the dominant business Linux company. Yes, Red Hat was in the running, but so was Caldera, SUSE, and TurboLinux. And, there was still a reasonable chance that Sun with Solaris could fend off Linux from datacenters. Then, Red Hat realized that rather than competing with the others with do-it-all developer-oriented Linux distros, it should go after big business with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

    The person who directed this fundamental change? Red Hat's new CEO and President Paul Cormier.

    With 20-20 hindsight, this move made perfect sense. But, then, people hated it. They screamed, "Red Hat has betrayed Linux" and "Red Hat wants to be the next Microsoft!" Many people within Red Hat didn't like the idea one bit either.

Open-source giant Red Hat has a new CEO

  • Open-source giant Red Hat has a new CEO

    IBM has made a huge bet on Red Hat, hoping to dominate a potentially trillion-dollar market by scooping up the open-source giant for $34 billion last year.

    Cormier joined Red Hat in 2001, and according to the company is responsible for driving the move to a subscription model and shifting Red Hat Linux from offering a freely downloadable operating system to focus on selling an enterprise version to big business. The company said its Red Hat Enterprise Linux is now used by 90% of Fortune 500 organizations.

    In his time at the company, Cormier has also managed 25 acquisitions to add to the company's business capabilities, the company said, as well as driving the company's hybrid cloud-computing strategy.

    Cormier said: "When I joined Red Hat, it would have been impossible to predict how Linux and open source would change our world, but they are truly everywhere. The transformations I see happening in our industry are exciting, as they present new challenges and opportunities."

    Whitehurst becomes chairman of Red Hat, taking over from Arvind Krishna, who is now CEO of IBM. Krishna said: "Red Hat is synonymous with open source and hybrid cloud – two of the biggest driving forces in our industry."

Two more articles about it

  • Red Hat names longtime exec Paul Cormier as CEO, replacing Jim Whitehurst

    Paul Cormier is the new chief executive officer of Red Hat, replacing Jim Whitehurst who is taking over as president if IBM.

    Red Hat announced Cormier’s selection on the same day that Ginni Rometty steps down as the top executive at IBM, which acquired Red Hat last year for $34 billion in one of the largest tech mergers ever.

    Arvind Krishna replaces Rometty as CEO. In a separate blog post, Krishna spelled out his vision for IBM and reported a number of executive changes.

    The promotion obviously means a great deal to Cormier, who previously served as president of Products and Technologies. He’s worked at Red Hat since 2001.

  • Paul Cormier takes over as Red Hat CEO cites DEC as an inspiration

    Red Hat finally said goodbye to longtime CEO Jim Whitehurst today, and announced erstwhile product supremo Paul Cormier as his replacement.

    Whitehurst had long been scheduled to take up his new role as president of IBM as of today, reporting to Arvind Krishna who took over the Big Blue CEO spot from Ginni Rometty at the end of January.

    Cormier was named as Whitehurst’s successor this morning, though the fact he was highlighted alongside Whitehurst and Krishna in the wake of IBM’s tortuous takeover of the open source powerhouse last year was probably a strong indicator he’d take over the top job in time.

    In a public email to Red Hatters today, Cormier emphasised the firm’s open source heritage, and its commitment to the cloud.

Paul Cormier Becomes Red Hat CEO

  • Paul Cormier Becomes Red Hat CEO

    Red Hat has named Paul Cormier as president and chief executive officer of the company, effective today. Cormier succeeds Jim Whitehurst who takes up his due role as IBM president.

Red Hat names new CEO

  • Red Hat names new CEO

    Open source specialists, Red Hat has announced that Paul Cormier has been appointed as the company’s president and chief executive officer.

    Comier is a long term Red Hat veteran and has previously served as the company’s president of Products and Technologies.

    Comier succeeds Jim White Hurst who will now serve as president of Red Hat’s parent company, IBM.

    In 2019, Red Hat was acquired by US software giant IBM in a $34 billion deal.

    During his time at Red Hat, Cormier has driven more than 25 acquisitions at Red Hat, as the company grew exponentially and expanded beyond its Linux routes.

RHEL pusher Paul Cormier appointed CEO to lead Red Hat...

  • RHEL pusher Paul Cormier appointed CEO to lead Red Hat into the IBM era

    Long-serving Red Hatter Paul Cormier has been named president and chief exec as his predecessor, Jim Whitehurst, sets off for fields Big and Blue.

    Cormier is very much a Red Hat insider, having joined in 2001 and overseen the addition of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) to the company's line-up. He is also credited with pioneering the subscription model that shunted the firms and its wares into boardrooms.

    The CEO position had been vacated by Whitehurst, who was due to take up duties as IBM president today, 6 April. Arvind Krishna is also set to commence his tenure as Big Blue's CEO today following January's shenanigans, which saw former boss Virginia Rometty shown the retirement door (by the end of this year, at least).

    Whitehurst's tenure at Red Hat saw the company's revenues grow from $500m to almost $3bn before IBM swooped in with an eye-popping $34bn deal to acquire the open sourcer in 2018. Whitehurst then became a veep at IBM.

    Cormier, who described RHEL as "by far the most successful thing I ever have or ever will work on", has his work cut out as Red Hat's business is integrated with IBM's. Research, sponsored by Red Hat itself, showed the company enjoyed a substantial share of the worldwide server operating system market ahead of the IBM acquisition. Buddying up with Microsoft will have done no harm to those figures, despite IBM's well-documented struggles to keep its own cloud relevant.

A message from Paul Cormier: Red Hat is here to help

  • A message from Paul Cormier: Red Hat is here to help

    We are living, and working, through a time of great uncertainty. At a time like this, I’ve found it helpful to remember our values and what's important. What's important to Red Hat is our commitment to our people, our customers and our communities. It goes without saying that wellbeing is priority number one, and we continue to take measures to prioritize the health and well-being of both Red Hat associates and the communities where we live and work.

    As we embrace new ways of working, we can look to the open source way of doing business, where the best ideas can come from anywhere, and where transparency and collaboration are vital, and showing up ready to help is a key component to success for each contributor and the community as a whole. We're here, as always, to help.

    We are focusing our efforts on helping our associates, our customers and our communities thrive today, tomorrow, and in the weeks to come. Whether that's continuing your business in a changing world, adapting to a virtual-first footing, or helping us all learn new things and stay inspired - all while maintaining some semblance of work/life balance.

    We have some ideas, and would love to hear yours. In the spirit of ‘release early, release often,’ here are some of the things we're doing, with more to share in the weeks to come.

Paul Cormier Replaces Jim Whitehurst as Red Hat CEO

Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier | Red Hat Summit 2020

  • Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier | Red Hat Summit 2020

    In this special edition of TFiR Newsroom, we are offering exclusive interviews from the Red Hat Summit. In this interview, Paul Cormier, CEO, and Chairman of Red Hat talks about how Red Hat is maintaining neutrality in working with partners as part of IBM.

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