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VMware’s Engineering Star, VP Of Networking, Security Leaves

Just days after VMware named its new CEO, the company’s worldwide leader of software-defined networking, security and automation engineering has left the company after 17 years.

VMware’s worldwide software-defined networking, security and automation leader, Ravi Kagalavadi, has left the company after a 17-year tenure. His departure came just days after VMware named Raghu Raghuram the company’s new CEO following a four-month CEO search after former CEO Pat Gelsinger left to head Intel.

VMware’s longtime network virtualization and data center engineering leader Kagalavadi—who last year became vice president of worldwide networking, security and automation solutions engineering—announced his departure from VMware on LinkedIn this week, saying he’s leaving for another job opportunity.

“As I look back, VMware is one of the most innovative companies that forever changed the IT industry and drove the digital transformation for our customers,” wrote Kagalavadi. “After an incredible 17+ years I am leaving VMware to pursue a new opportunity. It has been a privilege to work at a company that focused on customers, EPIC2 values, Diversity and Inclusion and built a culture of innovation. … As I prepare to move on to my next adventure, I want to thank everyone that I have had the honor to work with, learn from and mentor. Thank you VMware [and] Dell Technologies.”

[Related: Here Are Dell’s Top 5 Most Highly Compensated Executives]

As of Wednesday morning, Kagalavadi’s LinkedIn post announcing his departure has garnered more than 170 comments, mostly from VMware colleagues or former colleagues touting his tenure at VMware as “legendary” and saying he will be “incredibly missed.”

At the time of Raghuram’s CEO confirmation last week, VMware’s worldwide chief operating officer of products and cloud services, Sanjay Poonen, also said that he would be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.

Both Poonen and Kagalavadi publicly congratulated Raghuram for being selected as VMware’s CEO, while also touting Raghuram’s technical abilities and dedication to the company.

“Raghu continues to drive disruptive innovations at VMware. Congrats on being the CEO and to take VMware on the multi-cloud era journey,” wrote Kagalavadi on Twitter last week.

Poonen said he has nothing but delight and respect for his “elder bro” Raghuram.

Kagalavadi first joined VMware in 2003 as a principal engineer for global accounts. He worked his way up the ladder to become director of systems engineers in 2014, driving virtualization across global and enterprise accounts. Other top executive roles during his tenure include vice president of the Americas software-defined data center solutions engineering.

Since August 2020, Kagalavadi has been vice president of worldwide networking, security and automation solutions engineering. He is responsible for leading a worldwide team of dedicated professionals in software-defined networking, security, storage, automation and management.

Kagalavadi’s final day at VMware was May 14, VMware confirmed to CRN.

“We are thankful for Ravi’s many accomplishments and the positive impact he has made on our business, and we wish him well,” VMware said in an email to CRN.

VMware did not say who Kagalavadi’s replacement would be but highlighted recent executive hires such as its new worldwide sales leader for networking and security solutions, Tom Koppelman.

One top executive from a solution provider that is one of VMware’s top partners said VMware’s global leadership is being reshuffled “basically overnight.”

“All I can say is Gelsinger is gone forever—not doing anything with VMware, off the board, etc. Sanjay is leaving soon. You have some people in global positions like Ravi—really like the top 50 positions inside the company—gone,” said the executive, who declined to be named. “This is a new VMware coming out of the [COVID-19 pandemic] and its spin-off from Dell. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—change is part of IT and it’s happening faster than ever, but these things are things we need to be watching.”

Palo Alto, Calif.-based VMware is set to become an independent company for the first time since 2004. VMware was part of EMC before Dell Technologies’ blockbuster $67 billion acquisition of EMC in 2016.

Raghuram told CRN that he has bullish plans to for VMware following its spin-off from Dell.

“The fact that we’re getting spun out of Dell, you can almost think of us as the Switzerland of multi-cloud,” Raghuram told CRN. “We’re hardware-agnostic, cloud-agnostic and we can really focus on helping our customers run their applications and run their IT however they want to run it. We’re providing the tools to help them build new applications faster, run them across all of these locations, manage these applications, secure and protect them, etc.—that’s what we’re trying to do in a nutshell.”

VMware is set to report its quarterly financial results May 27.

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