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Brocade picks networking vet Carney as CEO

Brocade completed its CEO search this week, hiring Lloyd Carney to replace Mike Klayko.

Klayko said last August that he would step down as soon as the board found a replacement, ending an eight-year tenure as Brocade’s CEO. During that time, Brocade acquired its main storage switch rival McData, outdueled Cisco for the top spot in storage networking revenue and spent $2.6 billion to get into the Ethernet market by acquiring Foundry Networks. But Klayko failed to attract a buyer for Brocade despite a great deal of speculation that the company was for sale several times over the past few years.

If you’re looking for hints on where Carney might take Brocade, two things about his resume stand out. First, he has little storage background and plenty of network experience. Second, he sold off two companies he ran – Xsigo Systems to Oracle last year and Micromuse to IBM in 2005.

Xsigo is the closest Carney has come to a storage company. Xsigo actually did I/O virtualization and was more of a networking play, but did work with storage gear. After Oracle bought Xsigo, it tried to recast its technology as software-defined networking. IBM acquired network management software vendor Micromuse for around $865 million, and Carney stayed with IBM for one year to run the Micromuse division.

He has also been COO at Juniper Networks, president of Nortel’s wireless internet division and a vice president at Bay Networks as well as CEO of his own angel investment firm. Carney obviously knows his way around Silicon Valley, which could help if Brocade puts itself up for sale again. If not, you can expect the vendor to continue its push to become an Ethernet network leader while holding on to the No. 1 Fibre Channel network spot for as long as that market remains lucrative.

There have been plenty of acquisition rumors around Brocade over the years, despite Klayko’s insistence in 2009 that the company was not for sale. Hewlett-Packard and Dell were believed to be considering buying Brocade before they acquired other networking companies, and there has also been talk of private investors buying Brocade.

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