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New Tintri CEO Tom Barton set to take the reins in April

Tintri wasted little time finding a CEO to try and boost its sagging fortunes.

On Tuesday, the hybrid flash vendor named IT veteran Thomas Barton as successor to Tintri CEO Ken Klein, who announced last week he is stepping down after nearly 4 1/2 years at the helm.

Barton, 53, is set to officially take the reins April 2. In securing its next corporate chief, Tintri opted for a choice with industry ties in venture financing and server-storage architecture.

Since 2007, Barton has been a founding general partner in Broken Arrow Venture Capital, a Los Gatos, Calif., firm that provides seed funding for bootstrapped startups. Before launching Broken Arrow, Barton served as CEO at Rackable Systems, an enterprise x86 server maker that went public in 2005.

Rackable Systems would go on to buy Silicon Graphics International Corp. (SGI) in 2009 — after Barton’s departure — and  eventually take the SGI corporate name. Hewlett-Packard Enterprise subsequently acquired SGI in 2016 for an estimated $275 million.

Thomas Barton

As Tintri CEO, Barton’s immediate goal will be to narrow the vendor’s losses amid a major turnaround effort that included laying off about 115 employees. Tintri beat revenue and earnings targets last quarter, but year-over-year product sales were down 41% and net loss widened 48%.

Klein was hired as Tintri CEO in October 2013 to prepare the vendor for a run at the public market. Investors provided Tintri with $262 million in venture funding in the run-up to its 2016 initial public offering (IPO) of stock, which netted $60 million in proceeds, but was roughly 40% less than the $100 million Tintri planned to raise.

Tintri started out by selling its original flagship VMstore flash storage to enterprises running VMware virtual machines.  Of late, the Mountain View, Calif., vendor has concentrated its sales and marketing on hyper-scale organizations looking to build private or hybrid cloud – a market other storage vendors also are pursuing.

The new Tintri flagship is the EC6000 hybrid array, which allows an organization to federate and manage 64 Tintri storage systems as a single pool. EC6000 sales were a bright spot last quarter, accounting for roughly two-thirds of product revenue.

Barton will be the third Tintri CEO since the vendor’s launch in 2008.  Founder Kieran Harty was Tintri’s first CEO and remains on as CFO.

Barton took Rackable Systems public in 2005, but he was ousted in 2007 following a string of down earnings. More recently, Barton was CFO at Planet Labs, a seven-year-old firm that deploys a fleet of sophisticated satellite imaging.