Summary:

Doug Burgum helped launch Great Plains Software and grow it into a company Microsoft bought for $1.1 billion. As chairman of SuccessFactors, he helped bring that company into SAP for $4.3 billion. Now he’s helping Atlassian grow as well.

Doug Burgum (1)

Atlassian chairman Doug Burgum.

Doug Burgum, who once led Microsoft’s Business Solutions Group and was chairman of the board of SuccessFactors, knows a thing or two about business software. That’s one big reason Atlassian tapped him to chair its board of directors.

Atlassian, based in Sydney, Australia with offices in San Francisco, makes software development and project tracking tools that compete with offerings from Microsoft, IBM and others.

Burgum’s experience taking a company from fledgling to major power player will come in handy for Atlassian, according to co-founder and CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes. “Doug built his own company, another non-Silicon Valley company, into a big company. He has a huge amount of experience and he’s helped us navigate issues and has seen his companies grow to many thousands of people,” Cannon-Brookes told me in a recent interview.

Burgum nurtured Great Plains Software from a small startup in Fargo, N.Dak. to a major player in accounting and ERP software for small and medium businesses before selling it to Microsoft in 2000 for $1.1 billion. He then led Microsoft’s ERP and CRM effort. After leaving Microsoft, he became chairman of the SuccessFactors board in 2007; Five years later, SAP bought SuccessFactors for a whopping $4.3 billion.

Atlassian also named two other board members: Murray Demo, former CFO of Adobe Systems and Kirk Bowman, partner at Accel Partners and a former VMware executive.

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