Diane Greene, who co-founded VMware and helped turn the company into the most influential of all the x86 virtualization vendors, is leaving her post as CEO and president and will be replaced by former Microsoft executive Paul Maritz.
VMware's board of directors announced the sudden shift in leadership in a July 8 statement. In the announcement, Joe Tucci, chairman of the VMware board and CEO of EMC, did not offer a specific reason for Greene's departure or what prompted the decision for her to leave now.
"As one of the founders and the leader of VMware, Diane guided the creation and development of a company that is changing the way that people think about computing," Tucci said in the statement. "The Board thanks her for her considerable contributions to VMware and wishes her every success in the future."
Greene's department comes less than a year after VMware went public in what some analysts called the most successful initial public offering in 2007 and among the most successful technology IPOs ever. While VMware offered about 10 percent of its shares to the public, EMC still controlled the vast majority of the company's stock.
Greene, along with her husband and several others, founded VMware in 1998, and the company turned itself into a driving force for bringing x86 virtualization into the marketplace as a way to consolidate servers within the data center. Virtualization has now become a mainstream technology among enterprises, and EMC originally bought the company in 2004 for about $600 million.
While VMware is controlled by EMC, VMware has kept its distance from its parent company, and its technologies and products have not been absorbed into EMC's portfolio.