SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby Resigns From IBM

Lance Crosby, CEO of SoftLayer, has resigned from IBM, as Big Blue reorganizes its Cloud group.

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Lance Crosby, founder and CEO of IBM’s SoftLayer unit, has resigned from IBM.

SoftLayer COO Francisco Romero announced the news internally on January 23. Sources close to the situation said Crosby decided now was a good time to step away, as IBM has reorganized with a newly- formed IBM Cloud group headed by Big Blue veteran Robert LeBlanc. Crosby was set to transition to a new role as head of innovation for IBM Cloud when he decided to leave.

According to sources, Crosby said he wanted to see IBM’s integration of SoftLayer completed and then step aside to spend time with his young family. Crosby was married two years ago and is father to a set of twins that are not yet a year old. With his work and travel schedule cutting into his time with family, Crosby decided to take a break, the sources said.

“We wish Lance Crosby the best as he takes a well- deserved break before pursuing new endeavors," an IBM spokesperson said. "Lance has left his mark on IBM. SoftLayer has become an important part of IBM's cloud portfolio, and has played a big role in our success. IBM reported $7 billion in cloud revenues for 2014, and we will continue to build on that momentum with our clients."

In a statement IBM provided to eWEEK, Crosby said, “I am very proud of the business we built and the team who continue to evolve SoftLayer at IBM. Now that the business is successfully integrated into IBM, I am ready to take some time off before I pursue my next challenge. I believe IBM and SoftLayer will continue to be successful in the cloud marketplace, and I am glad to have worked with IBM's great people and great technologies."

IBM acquired SoftLayer in July of 2013 for $2.1 billion and made it the foundation of its cloud strategy. Crosby was deeply involved in the integration of SoftLayer into IBM and was key to transitioning IBM’s overall cloud strategy with SoftLayer.

“He was totally committed to that part of the business -- perhaps to the point of being over-committed because he was working nearly 24/7," one source who requested anonymity said. Crosby was committed to rebuilding the IBM cloud infrastructure. He took it as a challenge, a continuation of what he had started years ago. When SoftLayer was independent, he would battle with Amazon and others and believed he had superior technology but could not compete with them on scale and marketing. When he joined IBM he said: ‘Now I’ve got my troops.’”

The SoftLayer management team otherwise remains intact and will continue to support IBM’s cloud initiatives under LeBlanc, who is IBM’s senior vice president of Cloud.