Datto has named Tim Weller as CEO, succeeding founder Austin McChord. The move comes roughly 10 weeks after McChord disclosed his decision to step down from the MSP-centric technology company for personal reasons.
Weller has been running Datto's day-to-day operations amid the board's search for a new CEO. And that search led right back to Weller's office.
Weller's shift to the CEO role should be welcome news for MSPs that have bet on Datto's technology platforms. He joined the company in June of 2017 as CFO, and was promoted to president and COO ahead of the current CEO post.
Even before McChord resigned, Weller had essentially taken on some day-to-day responsibilities for portions of the company.
When McChord resigned as CEO in 2018, he specifically endorsed Weller as his potential successor in conversations with Datto's board. The board and private equity owners, naturally, interviewed multiple candidates before officially naming Weller as the company's new CEO, multiple sources say.
Weller wanted the CEO slot from the moment that McChord disclosed his intention to step down, Weller tells ChannelE2E. He expressed that interest to the board but didn't want to be presumptuous that the title would come his way. And yes, he understood the board's need to interview potential candidates in recent months to ensure the absolute best person earned the CEO role.
Datto Names Tim Weller CEO: His Qualifications, The Transition
Among Weller's unique qualifications: Hands-on experience running Datto, first-hand knowledge of the MSP market, and previous success driving finances at publicly held companies -- namely, EnerNoc (now Enel X) and Akamai. In fact, he led the Akamai team that completed one of the top IPOs of all time, his executive biography notes.
Now, compared Weller's experience with Datto's potential long-term business path. The company's private equity owners (Vista Equity Partners) will likely seek an IPO or strategic exit in the next few years, ChannelE2E believes. Of Datto's major head-on, MSP-centric rivals, only SolarWinds MSP has a publicly held parent.
In a prepared statement about Weller's qualifications, Vista Equity Operating Principal and Datto Board Member Nadeem Syed said:
“We are excited for this next phase in Datto’s growth and we are confident that Tim is the right candidate to lead the company and to continue its industry leadership through strategic growth and MSP-centric innovation. Tim’s extensive global leadership experience with public and private companies, combined with his deep technical and financial expertise make him a natural fit to help the company continue to scale and grow.”
Added McChord in a prepared statement:
“Tim and I worked every day, side by side, for the last 18 months as we grew Datto. I’m happy to see Tim lead the company moving forward. Tim understands Datto’s values and unique culture and lives it everyday. I am confident that under Tim’s leadership Datto will continue to grow and prosper. Most importantly, he is passionate about the MSP community as a whole and truly believes in their role going forward. Datto is in good hands with Tim.”
The transition from McChord to Weller may silence conspiracy theorists, some of whom quietly but firmly suggested that Datto had perhaps stumbled in recent months, and that private equity owners Vista Equity Partners had allegedly ousted McChord in response.
In reality, Datto had a strong 2018; the company remains keenly focused on its MSP-centric business model; McChord's exit truly was his personal choice; and the transition from McChord to Weller has been a smooth one, multiple sources close to the company and in the private equity market assert.
Datto Sales Strategy, CTO Search
These are busy times for Weller and the Datto team. The company is gearing up to host a sales team kickoff for 2019 -- essentially, rolling out Datto's business strategy and goals to team members sometime in the very near future.
On the executive front, Datto also is seeking a CTO to succeed Robert Gibbons, who disclosed plans in 2018 to step away from the company in 2019. I believed Gibbons remains with the business until his successor is announced, and it sounds like such a move could be coming soon.
The CTO post is particularly important. McChord, a technologist at heart, continues to test, poke and prod all of the products Datto develops. But he's officially a board member rather than a day-to-day employee. There's also chatter that McChord is preparing to mentor or somehow assist emerging CEOs in the MSP technology sector (more on that soon).
For his part, Weller certainly has technology and software development experience, but the CTO slot is all-consuming. So it's a safe bet naming a new CTO to succeed Gibbons is a top Datto priority for the days ahead.
Datto: MSP Product Portfolio Evolution, Expansion, Integration
Datto's next CTO will have plenty to chew on. Originally a data protection provider, the company has acquired and developed its way into multiple market segments -- including:
- Business management software (Autotask Professional Services Automation);
- Remote monitoring and management (RMM) software;
- File sync and sharing; and
- Cloud-managed networking equipment, including routers, switches and WiFi solutions.
Tying all of those solutions and services together into a seamless MSP experience is a tall order.
Datto spent most of 2018 accelerating and integrating the R&D from its Autotask acquisition, announced in late 2017. ChannelE2E is watching closely to see if or how Datto resumes acquisitions in 2019 -- especially since head-on rivals like ConnectWise, Contiuum, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP have made multiple acquisitions in recent months.
Many of the M&A deals have been security- or business management-centric in nature. The latest such deal, disclosed this morning, involved Continuum buying BrightGauge.
MSP Market Opportunities
As for the overall MSP market, Weller sees some clear opportunities. Although the North America market is maturing, there are still opportunities for MSPs to disrupt vendors that sell direct into midmarket and small business accounts, he says. "Don't underestimate the U.S. market," he says.
And on the global front, Asia is a huge opportunity while Europe continues to provide fertile ground for expansion, he adds.
MSPs should hear more about those expansion opportunities worldwide shortly after Datto's sales kickoff gathering in the weeks ahead. Those MSP-centric communications, Weller says, will be more frequent. Translation: MSPs should arrive to DattoCon19 in June 2019 with a good feel for the company's strategy even before the conference starts, he says.