Summary:

Moorman cites family health issues as reason for stepping back from president’s role.

Rackspace President Lew Moorman is stepping down from his position to spend more time with his family, he said in a note to employees at the San Antonio-based cloud services company. He noted that while he might be stepping away from active duties, he will remain on the board of directors of the company. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier will take over Moorman’s job. The company also recently added Rick Jackson, formerly of VMware as its chief marketing officer while Taylor Rhodes is the chief customer officer at the company.

Moorman, whom I have known for nearly 12 of his 13 years at Rackspace, said that he is spending time with his family mostly because of illnesses that have effected his wife and his oldest daughter. He kept his private life pretty private and always wore an easy smile. Lew was relentless in convincing me that Rackspace was a story worth writing about — he hounded me at Red Herring and I finally wrote about them at Business 2.0. What didn’t change with years was his enthusiasm for the business and lately for cloud and open source.

Hey Rackers,

I have not given you an update on my personal situation since early March. I do have some news to share that impacts my life at Rackspace.

My wife had successful surgery on her cancer in late March. We remain hopeful for her future, but there are real uncertainties and challenges ahead. This has been a life changing experience for our family and coincides with some difficult, ongoing health issues we face with our oldest daughter. Given these circumstances, I have taken some time to assess my ability to balance the demands of leading the Rack with the needs of my family.

The job of president for a company of this size and speed is a 24×7 endeavor. Like many of you, when I am not here, my mind is still mainly focused on our work. I’ve found it a very rewarding trade because I get to build something special here with all of you. But, this is not a pace I can keep up in my current circumstances. And, you deserve full commitment from your leaders.

Therefore, over the next few months I will hand off of my day-to-day responsibilities to other members of our senior leadership team. At that time, I will step down as president and chief strategy officer and assume a much more limited role.

I am not leaving Rackspace. I will remain involved as a member of our board of directors, as a committed shareholder, and as a part-time employee advising the company, primarily on strategy and product direction. Our industry is in a time of transition, which offers big challenges and opportunities, and I am as excited as ever about our future. I believe that the rise of OpenStack, the appeal of a true hybrid cloud, and the value and power of Fanatical Support will drive us to a great position in the market. I am excited to watch the company’s progress, evangelize for it, and help in any way I can.

During the next few months of my transition, I will remain 100% committed and focused on putting our leadership team in a position to win. Taylor Rhodes’s transition to chief customer officer, leading the sales and support segments, is a great step. A few weeks ago, we added a new CMO in Rick Jackson to lead our marketing efforts. I will continue to help with his integration, but as of now, he will report to Lanham (who, by the way, will return to being both CEO and President once my transition is complete.) In terms of strategy, product and corporate development, I will continue to lead these groups full-time during the transition. I am working with the relevant senior leaders (Jim Curry, Mark Interrante and Pat Matthews) on how best to structure these interrelated activities long term. We have some strong approaches emerging. In addition, I believe this will be the set of activities in which I will stay most involved as an advisor.

I cannot tell you how much the support from all of you has meant to me over the 13 years I’ve worked here, and especially during my family’s health issues. You truly are my friends and family. I will not reminisce on my time here because this is not goodbye – I am still a Racker! I am open to discussing this change with you. Please reach out to me. I will do my best to meet with anyone and everyone who has concerns and questions. The Rack is a huge part of my life and this change comes with very mixed emotions for me. But, I am confident it is right for me, my family – and the Rack. Our best days are still ahead. Let’s keep after it.

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