Red Hat, the Raleigh-based open-source software company, announced a new chief executive officer Tuesday, promoting Matt Hicks to head one of the area’s most prominent tech companies.
Hicks’ path to CEO was unusual, as he joined Red Hat in 2006 as an IT developer before most recently serving as the company’s executive vice president of products and technologies. He replaces Paul Cormier, who will stay with the company as chairman.
Red Hat employs more than 20,000 people worldwide, including more than 2,000 at its downtown Raleigh headquarters. Founded in 1993, the company was acquired by IBM in 2019 for $34 billion and is considered one of the leading open-source software companies in the world.
In an introductory email to staff, Hicks championed Red Hat’s ascent while cautioning employees to avoid complacency.
“Open source is now solidly the innovation driver for the software industry and Red Hat is the leader in enterprise open source, period,” he wrote. “No one does it better than us.”
CEO’s ‘remarkable’ path
Cormier, the outgoing CEO, joined Red Hat in 2001 and is credited with spearheading a subscription model that helped push company revenues from the millions to the billions.
“It was a major pivot towards a more enterprise-friendly model and very service-oriented model,” said Arvind Malhotra, a professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School.
Cormier was named CEO in April 2020 in the wake of the IBM acquisition. Today, his company is one of the best performing parts of IBM, with the parent company reporting an 18% increase in Red Hat’s revenue from the first quarter of 2021 to 2022.
Red Hat has also been a recent mainstay on Fortune’s annual 100 Best Companies to Work For lists, ranking 34th in 2022.
Malhotra called it “remarkable” and “grassroots” that Hicks progressed from a developer on the IT Team to take over the company’s highest-ranking position. “It speaks to having both technology and business knowledge, and that’s a unique combination,” he said.
In a press release Tuesday, Cormier heralded his successor’s readiness for the new role.
“Matt is the exemplification of a true Red Hatter and is absolutely the right person to step into this role,” he said. “His experience across different parts of our business has given him depth and breadth of knowledge about how we can best work together to scale and remain the open hybrid cloud leader. He understands our product strategy and the direction the industry is moving in a way that’s second to none.”
This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work.
This story was originally published July 13, 2022 4:55 PM.
Read the full article here