DuPont Fabros Technology has named Christopher Eldredge its president and CEO following a two-year search for a successor to Hossein Fateh, who will be stepping down after 18 years in the role. Eldredge comes from NTT America, where he has served as executive vice president since 2013.
DFT originally announced it was looking for a successor to Fateh in 2013. The original plan was to appoint someone as president and have them transition into the CEO role later. The real estate investment trust put the search on fast track in late 2014, saying it was looking for someone ready to take over the CEO role immediately. Fateh, one of the company's founders, will remain on the board, serving as vice chairman.
Eldredge joins during a time of change for DFT and for the wholesale center industry at large. The company recently brought online the massive ACC7 data center in Ashburn, Virginia, the first facility employing a new data center design it plans to replicate in all future builds. The design was also used in a 9-megawatt expansion in Santa Clara, California, as well.
The North American wholesale data center market in general is doing well, up 37 percent in 2014, according to North American Data Centers, a commercial real estate firm specializing in data center space. But the market is undergoing some changes. Wholesale providers are agreeing to smaller-than-usual deals and have been differentiating their services beyond the traditional powered-shell or turnkey data center space.
DFT announced intentions to pursue smaller deals and enter the retail colocation market early last year. Its biggest competitor, Digital Realty Trust, which also recently named a new CEO, has been making moves along similar lines.
Eldredge's previous company, subsidiary of Japan's gigantic Nippon Telephone and Telegraph Corp., has been expanding its data center business in the U.S. aggressively. Its biggest move was acquiring a majority stake in RagingWire, a DFT competitor in some markets, last year.
At NTT America, he was responsible for the network services business.
Prior to NTT, Eldredge was president and general manager of Ethernet exchange and product management at Telx Group. In the past he has also held executive leadership roles at Broadview Networks and Frontier Communications (formerly Citizens Communications). His early career was with Cablevision Lightpath.
“It’s an honor to take the helm of a company built on such a solid foundation,” Eldredge said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with the board, executive team, and employees to build on DFT’s momentum.”
In his statement, Fateh said he was confident in Eldredge's ability to assume leadership immediately. "In my role as vice chairman, co-founder and shareholder, I remain committed to DFT and available to Chris for insight and support,” he added.
DFT held its Initial Public Offering in 2007, during a time of economic turmoil. The company even halted some projects early on in its public life, before the credit spigot finally reopened. The data center sector proved to have been one of the most resilient and well-performing sectors through the recent recession.
The company’s portfolio now consists of 11 data centers located in four major U.S. markets, totalling 2.75 million gross square feet and 240 megawatts of critical load.