Nutanix brings in former VMware exec as new CEO

Nutanix announced today that it was bringing in former VMware executive Rajiv Ramaswami as president and CEO. Ramaswami replaces co-founderr Dheeraj Pandey, who previously announced his plans to retire in August.

The new CEO brings 30 years of industry experience to the position including stints with Broadcom, Cisco, Nortel and IBM — in addition to his most recent gig at VMware as Chief Operating Officer of Products and Cloud Services at VMware.

At his position at VMware, Ramaswami had the opportunity to see Nutanix up close as a key competitor, and he now has the opportunity to lead the company into its next phase. “I have long admired Nutanix as a formidable competitor, a pioneer in hyperconverged infrastructure solutions and a leader in cloud software,” he said in a statement. He hopes to build on his industry knowledge to continue growing the company.

Sohaib Abbasi, lead independent director of Nutanix says that as a candidate, Ramaswami’s experience really stood out. “Rajiv distinguished himself among the CEO candidates with his rare combination of operational discipline, business acumen, technology vision and inclusive leadership skills,” he said in statement.

Holger Mueller, an analyst at Constellation Research says the hiring makes a lot of sense as VMware is quickly becoming the company’s primary competitor. “Nutanix and VMware want to be the same in the future — the virtualization and workload portability Switzerland across cloud and on premise compute infrastructures,” he told me.

What’s more, it allows Nutanix to grab a talented executive. “So hiring Ramaswami brings both an expert for multi-cloud to the Nutanix helm, as well as weakening a key competitor from a talent perspective,” he said.

Nutanix was founded in 2009. It raised over $600 million from firms like Khosla Ventures, Lightspeed Ventures, Sapphire Ventures, Fidelity and Wellington Management, according to Crunchbase data. The company went public in 2016. Investors seem pleased by the announcement with the company stock price up 1.29% as of publication.