There are just two things that John Loiacono says he would do differently if he could do it all over again: join Sun Microsystems three years sooner out of college and sell every share he had when the stock hit $130.
In a public farewell statement posted to his Sun blog March 26, the former executive vice president of software at Sun, who was recently lured away after 19 years to a position as senior vice president of creative solutions at Adobe Systems, says he is not leaving because he thinks the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has no future: “If you look closely, you will see the Sun rising, not setting.”
He also describes how difficult it was telling his bosses, Sun CEO and chairman Scot McNealy and COO and president Jonathan Schwartz, both of whom were “surprised, but they were also cordial, professional and each a total class act.”
He also mentions that he was able to tell his staff he was leaving before the news media, including eWEEK, got wind of his departure and reported it.
“At Sun, if there is any dirt to be known, the network finds it and disseminates it. At light speed. To all ends of the earth. Usually with 80 percent accuracy. Often on CNET, eWEEK or The Register, before the company itself has been notified. But not this time,” he says.
Regrets? That he would not be there to finish establishing Suns software business, where he has been involved for the past five years.
“I get paid to be optimistic about my business, to be a cheerleader. And right when the team is starting to hit its stride, I got lured away. That was a tough message to deliver,” Loiacono said.
As to why hes leaving, Loiacono said he knows he wants to do a startup at some point.
“But if I want to get there eventually, I asked myself which would be more compelling: landing at a startup when I had 25 years of Sun experience or landing with 19 years of Sun experience and six, seven or 10 years of experience at a place like Adobe. I chose the latter because it was right for me. That may not be right for everyone, but it made sense for me,” he said.
While he said he looks forward to his start at Adobe, he said he leaves Sun with a heavy heart and an “incredible set of memories. I grew up here. I got married while here … Its been a thrill, and worth every late night, road trip and commute mile. I dont know if the culture is a product of me or Im a product of the culture. Either way, I am proud to have been part of Suns incredible, industry-altering ride.”