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New Pure Storage CEO: Former Cisco Systems CTO Charles Giancarlo

Scott Dietzen
Scott Dietzen
Pure Storage CEO Charles Giancarlo

All-flash data platform vendor Pure Storage has named Cisco Systems Veteran Charles Giancarlo to the CEO position, succeeding Scott Dietzen, who becomes chairman of the board.

Giancarlo is perhaps best known as the former CTO of Cisco Systems, where he was once considered a potential successor to former CEO John Chambers. But Giancarlo exited in 2007 for other opportunities, and Chuck Robbins ultimately succeeded Chambers in July 2015. More recently, Giancarlo spent eight years at Silver Lake Partners, the well-known investment firm. Prior to that he served as Interim President and CEO of Avaya.

In a prepared statement, Dietzen praised Giancarlo’s track record, saying the company had been searching for a CEO successor for some time.

“As the Board and I planned for an orderly leadership transition, and sought the right CEO to realize and execute the next stage of our vision for Pure Storage, we embarked on a global search a few months ago to identify the best candidates, ”Dietzen said. “We have found a leader in Charlie who we expect will continue to drive growth and market leadership with the spirit of innovation and quality our customers and partners count on. Most importantly, we believe Charlie is the best candidate to scale Pure to become a multi-billion dollar global leader in data infrastructure and solutions."

Leader Track Records

Dietzen joined Pure as CEO in 2010 and led the company to a successful IPO. He previously was CEO and president at Zimbra and CTO at BEA Systems. For Giancarlo, this is his first time running a fast-growth tech company -- his brief stint driving Avaya notwithstanding.

Giancarlo joins Pure Storage during a key growth stage at the company. Indeed, Pure's revenue was $224.5 million in Q2 2018, up 38 percent vs. the corresponding quarter last year. The company had a net loss of $61.7 million for Q2 2018, but the loss was widely expected as Pure maintained its focus on growth.

Pure is one of the bigger players in the all-flash array (AFA) storage sector, competing against names like Dell EMCNetApp and HP Enterprise's Nimble Storage, among other fierce rivals. Some pundits have wondered if Pure can remain an independent company -- especially as Dell EMC and HPE in particular continue to push hard into the market. But so far Pure has remained a growth story on its own.