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Veeam changes CEO; founder steps aside

Veeam Software, which went from a niche virtual machine backup software vendor to an industry leader in less than a decade, changed its top leadership team Tuesday. The changes come as Veeam prepares to make a stronger run at enterprise sales and helping customers move to the cloud.

Ratmir Timashev stepped down as CEO and his co-founder Andrei Baronov shifted from VP of software engineering into the new CTO post. They will help Veeam with market strategy and product development. Veeam veteran William Largent was promoted to CEO and the vendor added VMware executive Peter McKay, who will run the vendor’s day-to-day operations as president and COO.

Veeam chief marketing officer Peter Ruchatz said the vendor had close to $500 million in billings last year and the transition is designed to help it reach its goal of $1 billion annual billings by 2019.

“We’re constantly thinking about how we can take the business to the next level,” he said. “We have a couple of things coming together now. Over the past 12 to 18 months, we’ve pursued opportunities beyond what Veeam’s business was in the beginning, which was the SMB market. Now we’re focused on availability for the enterprise.

“The changes we’ve made are starting to come to fruition and they will take Veeam to the next growth level. Those new opportunities also bring complexity, so we decided we should bring on external management.”

Largent joined Veeam in 2008 as executive vice president. He previously worked with Timashev and Baronov at Aelita Software, which Quest Software acquired in 2006. He has also been CEO of Applied Innovation. Largent will move from Veeam’s Columbus, Ohio office to its global headquarters in Baar, Switzerland.

McKay comes to Veeam from VMware, where he was senior vice president and general manager of the Americas. He was CEO of startups Desktone, Watchfire and eCredit – all acquired by larger companies – before joining VMware.

Ruchatz said McKay will run the day-to-day business. “He has experience in large corporations,” Ruchatz said. “He also knows how startups work. He knows how to scale and where we need to be.”

Ruchatz said Timashev will help plan Veeam’s strategic moves, and Baronov will remain involved in product direction.

Veeam has sold into the enterprise for the past year or so, but mostly to departments inside large companies. Ruchatz said the vendor is ramping up its sales team to go after larger footprints inside enterprises.  It is planning an August product launch that expands its availability platform. Cloud connectivity will play a large role in the new product, which will include disaster recovery orchestration. Veeam is also expected add deeper integration with public clouds such as Amazon and Microsoft Azure. The changes will include more subscription-based pricing.

Veeam cracked the Gartner Magic Quadrant leaders category for data center backup and recovery software this year for the first time. Gartner listed Veeam as a leader along with Commvault, IBM, Veritas Technologies and EMC.

Veeam, a private company, claims its bookings revenue grew 24% year-over-year for the first quarter of 2016, including a 75% growth in deals above $500,000. Veeam claims an average of 3,500 new customers each month and said it finished March with 193,000 customers worldwide.

Newcomer McKay previously served as an executive-in-residence for Insight Venture Partners, which has a minority holding in Veeam. However, Ruchatz said Veeam has no plans to seek venture funding or become a public company.

“Nothing changes on the investment side,” Ruchatz said. “We enjoy being a private company and have the flexibility to make big moves. We’re running a profitable company and the market knows it. We don’t need further funding. In fact, we have a enough to start looking at making potential acquisitions.”

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