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VMware Shifts Leadership

Assessing VMware's management reshuffle

Memorable factoids aside, though, the virtualization playing field has been shifting rapidly.

Microsoft’s aggressively priced Hyper-V is certainly responsible for part of this, but other formidable players, including Citrix, Oracle, and Red Hat are crowding the pitch, as well. In addition, the larger technology marketplace is suffering from deteriorating economic conditions and increasingly conservative business IT spending.

The reasons for Greene’s departure are thin on the ground, though the company’s cryptic mention of its 2008 earnings being “modestly below” previous guidance is likely to be seen by some as a smoking gun.

We expect, though, that VMware may simply be experiencing a change in executive tenure that is historically common in IT. The truth is that few executives are up to every task they confront. That, after all, is why delegating responsibilities tends to be an effective business strategy.

But along this line, it is seldom that a leader who successfully founds and guides a business through its startup process is able to lead it to full maturation. The skills needed to assemble and drive an organization during those heady and uncertain times are simply different from those required to manage and sustain a maturing business with hundreds of millions or billions in annual revenues. That Diane Greene led VMware to enormous initial success will never be disputed, but the company’s board obviously decided that someone else should manage its next phase of growth.

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