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.
SoftLayer CEO Lance Crosby Resigns From IBM
IBM officials said the SoftLayer integration with IBM’s Cloud business has gone exceedingly well. SoftLayer is the basis of IBM’s Cloud portfolio as the company’s core Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platform — the platform under IBM’s Bluemix PaaS for developers and also the IaaS under IBM’s expansive SaaS portfolio.
The IBM Cloud unit has served more than 30,000 clients around the world, IBM said. In January 2014, IBM announced that it was investing $1.2 billion in a new network of cloud centers around the world significantly expanding its global cloud footprint to every major financial market. Designed to bring clients greater flexibility, transparency and control over how they manage their data, run their business and deploy their IT operations locally in the cloud. The move was aimed at providing companies that were once limited by data residency laws with access to the IBM Cloud. The goal was to double IBM’s owned data center footprint to 40 worldwide with more expansion planned for this year.
Last year, IBM also announced it was investing $1 billion to launch Bluemix, which is built on Cloud Foundry and SoftLayer. Bluemix combines IBM’s middleware portfolio and third-party services to bring users an open application development experience in the cloud. Bluemix helps both born-on-the-web and developers working in a legacy, on-premise infrastructure to build cloud-based mobile and web apps with tools specific to individual integration and capability needs. The PaaS also features a “DevOps in the cloud” model, which enables developers to rapidly develop, deliver and improve their apps based on continuous testing and user feedback helping build an enterprise cloud ecosystem.
Moreover, in April 2014, IBM launched a new cloud marketplace that brings together IBM’s portfolio of cloud capabilities and new third-party services in a way that delivers a simple and easy experience for the enterprise. This online destination serves as the digital front door to cloud innovation bringing together IBM’s capabilities-as-a-service and those of partners and third party vendors.
IBM also announced a large cloud deal and the biggest win for IBM Cloud to date with SAP selecting IBM as its premier strategic provider of cloud infrastructure services for its business critical applications. SAP applications are now available through IBM’s cloud. The deal makes SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud accessible to major markets with the addition of the IBM cloud data centers.
IBM and Tencent Cloud, one of China’s largest online providers, signed an agreement to collaborate on providing public cloud with SaaS solutions for industries. The companies will focus on emerging small and medium enterprises in the smarter cities, healthcare industries and other fields to enable these industries to utilize mobile, cloud computing and big data tools to transform internal processes and operations.
Meanwhile, news of Crosby’s departure comes amid reports that IBM is set to lay off up to 26 percent of its workforce or 100,000 employees in an initiative codenamed Project Chrome. IBM refutes this, saying there are “workforce rebalancing” moves every year, and that Big Blue is also hiring thousands of new employees.
However, Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the [email protected], an IBM employee advocacy group, said reports have come in from IBM employees saying a new round of job cuts – number unknown — could begin as early as today.