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CEO of Red Hat Steps Down 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the big-hat-to-fill dept.
bearer_of_bad_news points us to a C|net article which states that Matthew Szulik is stepping down as the president and chief executive of Red Hat. Szulik is citing family health reasons, and he plans to remain chairman of the board. Red Hat has indicated that his replacement will be former Delta Airlines COO James Whitehurst. Quoting the article: "On a conference call, Szulik said Whitehurst stood 'head and shoulders' above other candidates interviewed in a recruiting process. He was a programmer earlier in his career and runs four versions of Linux at home." We discussed Szulik's ascension to CEO back in 1999.
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CEO of Red Hat Steps Down

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  • runs four versions of Linux at home
    And Red Hat isn't one of them. Neither is Fedora.
    • by WestCoastJTF (1192081) on Friday December 21, 2007 @02:20AM (#21776016) Homepage
      He probably can't afford RHES even with his employee discount.
  • I remember (Score:5, Insightful)

    by renegadesx (977007) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:30AM (#21775476)
    I remember the 1999 article about Szulik rising to CEO level. Since then Red Hat has done alot and have become very successful in their business model.

    Not to mention making a rival in Oracle after buying JBoss, so in retaliation we see Unbreakable Linux.
    And despite Novell's best efforts and prostituting themselves out to Microsoft we still see Red Hat in the #1 position.

    Red Hat will do great without him (a company after all is bigger than one man) but we have seen a company growing so well under his leadership and that speaks volumes
  • Delta is perhaps (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:43AM (#21775544)
    The worst Airline i've ever traveled on and sadly their customer service, from top to bottom; is horrid. There are even fully dedicated [deltareallysucks.com] sites describing how bad the service is. Hell, just see for yourself [google.com]. Seeing as the COO's job is to make sure that said Corporation or company is operating to serve it's customers at the behest of the almighty dollar. I have a very strong feeling that Redhat is in for an extremely bumpy ride. I'm actually really sad to read that this appointment is going to take place. It's hard not to hold Delta's performance against him really.
    • by pclminion (145572) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:51AM (#21775592)
      Dude, the article indicates that the everybody who interviewed him was impressed. If that's true, and he really is a moron, that means that everybody ELSE at RedHat is also a moron. And if THAT'S the case, then it was fucked anyway. One man can't sink a ship. Okay, if he has several pounds of explosive he can sink a ship. Let's check his pockets.
      • by samkass (174571) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:02AM (#21775656) Homepage Journal
        It's actually surprisingly hard to weed out the morons. It's especially hard to weed out the seemingly normal people who will go bonkers on you down the line. Interviewing well is one of the most difficult (and important) thing a company can possibly do, IMHO.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          It's actually surprisingly hard to weed out the morons

          /. moderation seems to do it pretty well. (glances at most recent YRO comments).... oh wait... nevermind.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        This has nothing to do with running a company like Redhat. Listen, there are a lot of smart people; some people can run companies. Some people can not, no matter how smart or well they interview. Based on Delta's performance and general customer service, there is NO WAY I feel comfortable having the COO from Delta running Redhat. There is simply no confidence in that hire, NONE. Now you may say, well Delta was an airline so the customers of Redhat are different and you'd be right. However, if as COO he coul
        • I don't know, I am not sure how much Delta's poor service reflects on the COO. First of all, the airline industry is extremely competitive. A lot of air travelers are willing to put up with poor service in return for cheaper tickets. So cutting costs on service isn't a bad business move.

          Second, just because cheaping out on service was the strategy at Delta, doesn't mean that's going to be the strategy at Red Hat. I think the guy would have to be a moron not to realize that service is Red Hat's bread
      • he can sink a ship if he steers them into an "iceberg" or for that matter "doesn't know there is an iceberg" like the titanic.
      • by kcbrown (7426)

        Dude, the article indicates that the everybody who interviewed him was impressed.

        Yeah, well, the article doesn't indicate who interviewed him, so this "everybody who interviewed him was impressed" statement doesn't necessarily carry much weight.

        I'm going to reserve judgment here until we see what this guy actually does, but it's folly to ignore past results, particularly if they're associated with the very thing the guy will be responsible for in his new role.

        Since RedHat is apparently rather su

        • by Knuckles (8964)
          Yeah, well, the article doesn't indicate who interviewed him, so this "everybody who interviewed him was impressed" statement doesn't necessarily carry much weight.

          Yeah, I think at RedHat, candidates for the CEO position are interviewed by a panel of gardener, janitor, and head of cleaning personnel.
      • by jimicus (737525)
        Finding decent staff is damn hard at any level - because at every level you have timewasters, fools, people who are applying for something they're way underqualified for, people who are applying for something they're way overqualified for and former HP executives.

        Out of that list of people you really don't want to hire, a certain number can probably bluff their way through the interview process. Every company of any decent size has hired at least a few staff who they've wished they didn't.
      • by asuffield (111848)

        One man can't sink a ship.


        Maybe not, but Carly Fiorina recently proved that one woman can turn the ship into a colossal mess that it may never recover from.
    • by rsidd (6328)
      the worst Airline i've ever traveled on

      I don't think they're worse than any other US-based airline. From what I've heard, Northwest is by far the worst, but the rest of them rank pretty close (I've only flown Delta, AA, US Airways). Airlines in Europe and Asia are orders of magnitude better.
    • This is getting a bit off-topic, but Delta can't compete with Air-Tran for chronically bad service. My experience with Air-Tran was so horrible I can't bring myself to tell the whole story. But, I will say that my crappy experience seemed to be the norm, as opposed to being an unlucky extreme. I had to stand in line waiting 3 hours to reschedule my connecting flight, since they had overbooked. The line never got shorter. As I watched, new people populated the line at about the same rate, or greater, th
    • by Angostura (703910)
      To regain your sense of perspective, I suggest you try Continental. /bleugh.
    • by Abreu (173023)
      Almost every large service-oriented company has fully dedicated websites dedicated to whiners... Mine has 3, including a yahoo group...

      Even then, the whiners don't ammount to even .05% of the customer base
  • I can just feel the energy as RedHat hatters relish the words that they are soon to release upon Slashdot.
    • Why is Red Hat like a writing desk?
    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:46AM (#21775876) Journal
      Hatters? Yes, Yes all of our haberdashers are always very excited about any story mentioning stylish hattery.
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      hate Redhat? no, i can not hate Redhat, Redhat-7.1 was my first taste of Linux, i thought it was the greatest thing since the invention of the lightbulb, or peanutbutter & sliced bread (you get my point), by the time Redhat-7.3 was released i seen Redhat was targeting a different audience than what i was, Redhat seemed more interested in providing a product for businesses (enterprise & corporate desktops & servers), i was just a hobbyist that loved the PC, and grown tired of ms-windows vulnerabi
      • Are you really comparing a slackware PC to a Mac? Apples and Chickens man... and Slackware is a PITA sometimes (I used it from 7.0 to 10). You're right in that it's perfect pretty much for someone who likes to tinker and mess around with Linux and their computer, but in terms of general usability it's not that great.
        • by FudRucker (866063)
          RE:["If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind."]

          no! if you plant ice you get Popsicles...
        • by Hatta (162192)
          Once you have your workflow set up the way you want it, there's little difference between a linux box and a mac box. Especially in the case of a DAW like the parent said. Now getting a linux box set up right might be more work. But getting a mac box set up the way you want it can be a pain too, unless you do everything "The Apple Way (TM)"
  • Airline? (Score:4, Funny)

    by jeffkjo1 (663413) on Friday December 21, 2007 @12:51AM (#21775590) Homepage
    The former head of an airline to take over the reigns at <insert business here>???.... that makes about as much sense as letting the former head of an airline take over the reigns at <insert business here>.

    Oh... wait...
    • Re:Airline? (Score:5, Funny)

      by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:00AM (#21775646) Journal
      Or the former head of a soda company taking over the CEO role at a computer manufacturer...oh wait...

      -uso.
      • Or the former head of a soda company taking over the CEO role at a computer manufacturer...oh wait...

        Not sure what you meant by the "oh wait". That was John Sculley, not Steve Jobs, and by the time he left in 1993 he had brought the company to its knees.
    • Re:Airline? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:21AM (#21775772)
      Well, the good news is that the new guy is expected to be great at controlling costs. The bad news is that now all of your packets will have a stopover in Atlanta.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jd (1658)
      Depends on whether you want something that crashes. If you do, an airline exec would be the ideal choice.
      • Actually, the safety record of airlines overall is incredibly good. Do you know anyone who has been in an airline crash? Compare that number to the number of people you know who have been in an automobile crash.
    • Re:Airline? (Score:5, Funny)

      by Plutonite (999141) on Friday December 21, 2007 @01:47AM (#21775882)
      -I just hope my processes don't get scheduling like Delta flights.

      -It would be awesome if Fedora gets renamed to Redhat Linux Economy Edition.

      -
      1)Allow more packets to be sent than you can possibly handle
      2)Delay said packets citing bad network conditions
      3)????
      4)Profit! ...etc..etc
      • by spyowl (838397)
        4)Profit! ...etc..etc
        This is where most of the airline industry separates itself from the pack. What you really meant was:

        4) Lose money, declare bankruptcy, and beg government for free money, tax breaks, and subsidies! ...etc..etc
    • Remember when this [slashdot.org] happened? Interesting choice bringing in a manager whose company experienced a very publicized computer crash during his tenure. Hopefully Mr. Whitehurst carries forward some of the lessons learned from that experience.
    • 5 posts and no reigns-REINS correction yet? Yeesh.

      Seriously, though, can someone translate Szulik's last little bit of CEO-speak for me?

      "When there is zero expectation of financial remuneration, everything is Hollywood."
  • It's funny reading the old discussion about the CEO's ascension...

    "More Alpha support!" "YellowDog is good enough for PPC!" "Alpha users need to band together!"

    Heh.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'm speaking as somebody who saw how close-up how the executive level worked at Red Hat for two years. I saw a lot of bad decisions that were made systematically, dooming Red Hat to a mere niche in the software market.

    Red Hat passed up a lot of opportunities, all to satisfy the MBAs and their cronies who took over during Szulik's reign and eased out the founding generation. The problem was that the company became obsessed by meeting financial goals in the short term instead of using their good will and
  • a good man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by davejenkins (99111) <slashdotNO@SPAMdavejenkins.com> on Friday December 21, 2007 @02:06AM (#21775986) Homepage
    I worked for Red Hat from 2001-2004, and I will say that Matthew Szulik is a good man. He is one of those types that remembers everyone in the room, and remembers your name even though you haven't spoken to him for weeks or months. It was a crazy time, taking the company through the transition from start-up to 'real' company. His emails were sometimes non-sequitir stream of conciousness things, but at other times were very visionary and helpful.

    It was great to work for a company where everyone felt they were on a mission-- good times, good times.

    Good Luck, Mr Szulik.
  • The next version of Red Hat Linux will ...
    - No longer come with any entertaiment software.
    - Have nice icons and background that cost extra, and
    - Be delayed from original release date because...
    - there will be a major restructuring, while
    - all the programmers go on strike.
     
  • Bringing in talent from outside your industry has worked quite well in the past..

    Lest you forget what IBM did in 1993, by bringing in a former CEO of AMEX and RJR Nabisco.. http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biography/10153.wss [ibm.com] I wouldn't mind seeing RedHat duplicating IBM's turnaround, and becoming a $150B company.
  • The translation of Szulik from Russian is "crook" In Soviet Russia, ...
  • Here's hoping he can do for Red Hat what he did for Delta. No, wait, that didn't come out right
  • Another great guy from Red Hat is Bob Young [lulu.com] who went on to start LULU.com [lulu.com]. This guy really groks the whole "open source" thing. Since I've built my million-dollar business on the back of RedHat Linux, I can say with complete honesty, I really appreciate their efforts!
  • How long has he run Linux at home? Is this something that has been going on for years, or something that he got someone to install after his second interview? Context means a lot here!

    What about at work? How much Linux or other Open Source software has he worked with in his corporate life? That makes a big impact on seeing things from the customer's point of view.

    The one thing I'm really hoping is that he will bring fresh eyes to Red Hat and more focus on their core products instead of implementing $BUZZWOR
    • Good thing you can do everything from YAST via CLI, that god awful piece of shit gave me nightmares for months after using it once.
  • didn't delta airlines go bust or something?
  • Ah, great (Score:3, Funny)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Friday December 21, 2007 @07:24AM (#21777266) Homepage

    his replacement will be former Delta Airlines COO James Whitehurst.

    Now that means all your cron jobs will run late and RedHat will stop giving out those little packages of peanuts.

  • do i need to explain further ?
  • "runs four versions of Linux at home"

    Oh yeah ? Well I run four versions of Windows and two Macs on top of my Linux! :P

    Seriously, web development is the worst job evar.
  • Do we talk about the same Delta Air Lines that once employed Ellen Simonetti [wikipedia.org], who was fired for material on her blog that the company found inappropriate? Of course this does not mean anything bad about their COO, but I would be interested to hear his opinion on the blogger's incident, if he has an opinion (however, it probably was an issue outside his area of work). Anyway. Good to know the new CEO is a GNU/Linux user, and I wish them well.

  • "Red Hat purchases Microsoft patent license"

    Anyone want to guess at the odds of that?
    • by spevack (210449) *
      Zero, unless the new CEO wants to start his tenure with a mutiny in his engineering ranks.

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