Earlier this week, cloud provider GoGrid announced that founder and original CEO John Keagy is leaving that post and transitioning into a new role, a decision Keagy told me Friday morning is the result of the company growing too quickly.
According to Keagy, the company has been experiencing triple-digit growth every year (he didn’t provide specifics on what that means in terms of revenue), and the responsibilities of running the company, developing strategic partnerships and serving as an evangelist got to be too much to handle. Keagy, now executive chairman, will now focus on the latter two responsibilities — including taking the stage at Structure 2011 June 22-23 to discuss the new IaaS market — leaving the day-to-day management to new CEO Warren Heffelfinger.
The move completes an upper-management build out that has seen GoGrid add a CMO, CIO and CFO over the past three years. Keagy said he noticed how much better everything ran with professional operators, and he thought now was the time to put one at the helm, too.
It would be easy to dismiss the rationalization for appointing a new CEO as mere spin on bad situation, but, lack of concrete data aside, it’s tough to dispute the company’s claim. Under Keagy’s watch, GoGrid has been expanding in terms of scale, scope and capabilities at a fairly rapid pace — all without venture funding — and it has developed a reputation for quality performance. Among the partnerships Keagy has in the works for GoGrid is SAP certification, with which it will join Amazon Web Services, Virtustream and a handful of other cloud providers in being able to run enterprise-favorite SAP applications in production environments.
Another reason to trust Keagy’s explanation is the frankness with which he approaches everything. Not too many other CEOs would acknowledge that they’re not superhuman and willingly cede control to focus on tasks to which they’re better suited. And then there’s his realist view of the cloud space, in general. If you add up the estimated cloud revenues of Amazon Web Services , Rackspace and GoGrid, he noted, it’s not even a billion dollars in an IT market that’s worth
$33 $3.3 trillion. And, yet, cloud computing is all anyone wants to talk about.
GoGrid is often an afterthought in discussions of leading public cloud providers — where AWS is the 800-pound gorilla and Rackspace leading the OpenStack charge — but it has been around since the beginning and doesn’t look to be going anywhere. That a leadership shakeup will change its image remains to be seen, but conventional wisdom says cloud watchers can’t help but take notice if it keeps on growing at its current pace.