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Diane Greene: An Opposite Attracts

One of the most fascinating aspects of last week's VMworld show was witnessing the contrasting styles of VMware CEO Diane Greene and her male counterparts elsewhere in the storage market.

Greene is one of only a handful of women who have scaled the heady heights of the IT industry. She presents a stark contrast to the testosterone-charged bluster typically associated with these events. Often described as "unassuming" and even "humble" by the technology press, Greene's stage persona is decidedly low-key, lacking both the flamboyance of Cisco's John Chambers and the aggression of, say, Oracle's Larry Ellison.

Hardly one to jump off the stage and wade into the audience ( la Mr. Chambers), the diminutive Greene exudes a certain shyness, something that was underlined when one of her staff gave her a hug at the end of her keynote last week.

Constantly smiling, the VMware chief even wandered into the bustling press center at one point during the confab, joking with the assembled hacks about their labors in the "salt mines" of VMworld.

This easy-going manner seemed a world away from the textbook IT supplier CEO, a distant (and invariably male) figure who is typically spirited from briefing to briefing on a small cloud of flunkies.

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