Bill Fathers, head of VMware’s public cloud business whose future has become increasingly uncertain, is leaving the company, Fortune reported citing anonymous sources and a VMware spokesperson. The company announced his departure in an internal memo sent Tuesday.
Now called vCloud Air, the influential enterprise IT software company’s foray into the public cloud services market stared in 2013, the same year Fathers came on board following about six years at Savvis, a data center provider CenturyLink acquired in 2011. He led Savvis as president during the two years he stayed on board after the acquisition.
Launched initially as vCloud Hybrid Service, VMware’s public cloud was an attempt to make headway into the enterprise cloud market. The company’s strategy rested to a great extent on the hope that the enormous enterprise user base it had already amassed by 2013 would also use its cloud services if they could connect the VMware environments in their data centers to the public cloud seamlessly.
But as the biggest public cloud players, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google, pumped billions upon billions into their cloud services and the infrastructure to support them, it became increasingly difficult for any company that couldn’t match that level of investment to compete in the market.
Adding to the uncertainty of vCloud Air’s future is the merger between VMware’s parent company EMC and Dell that’s currently in the works. After investors rejected a proposed plan to combine the cloud service with Virtustream, EMC’s other cloud services subsidiary, EMC and VMware said the plan was off the table but didn’t offer a clear alternative.
A VMware spokesperson told Fortune that vCloud Air would focus on more niche cloud services, such as disaster recovery or “data center extension” projects.
Fathers will be replaced by vCloud Air VP and general manager Allwyn Sequeira and VP of sales and customer success for VMware cloud services Laura Ortman. The two will act as co-managers of the unit.