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Georgens out at NetApp – new chairman, interim CEO named

Turns out one of Tom's layoffs ... was himself

Longtime NetApp executive Tom Georgens has parted ways with the storage outfit, vacating his dual roles as the firm's chairman and chief executive, effective immediately.

Stepping up to the CEO chair – at least temporarily – is George Kurian, who most recently had served as the firm's executive veep of product operations.

Kurian came to NetApp from Cisco in April 2011 and has overseen a variety of projects at the storage firm, including running the engineering and product road map for the Data ONTAP operating system.

"I am honored to lead NetApp during this time of transition," Kurian said in a canned statement.

Simultaneous with his promotion to CEO, Kurian has also been appointed to NetApp's board to fill the seat vacated by Georgens. He won't take over for Georgens as chairman, though. That honor goes to Mike Nevens, a former senior partner at McKinsey & Co who is NetApp's lead independent director.

"These changes are aimed at speeding the company's movement to its next phase of innovation and growth," Nevens said in NetApp's press release. "While we intend to conduct a CEO search, we have the utmost confidence in George's ability to lead the company, given his deep knowledge of NetApp and support from a strong executive team."

Georgens, meanwhile, has been silent regarding his departure; nor did NetApp's statement give any reason for Monday's musical chairs.

It's not hard to guess, however, that NetApp's investors and its board have not been happy with Georgens' performance of late. NetApp's revenue for its most recent quarter was down 6.6 per cent from the year-ago period, while its net income was down 32 per cent.

Before his departure, Georgens was in the middle of an aggressive cost-cutting exercise that included axing as many as 512 staffers in May. Reports from April suggest that this process might not be over and that still more heads will roll before the end of the year.

Nevens' statement gave no indication of how long NetApp plans to spend searching for a permanent CEO. ®

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