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Citrix names former Microsoft exec Kirill Tatarinov prez and CEO

Dynamics ERP and CRM man gets the job of shedding the 'ailing' tag

Citrix has appointed former Microsoft exec Kirill Tatarinov President and chief executive officer.

Tatarinov spent over eight years as President, Executive Vice President, Corporate Vice President Microsoft Business Solutions Division, overseeing Microsoft's Dynamics CRM and ERP businesses. His LinkedIn profile also records stints at BMC and some directorships and advisory roles at early-stage companies.

Satya Nadella's June 2015 senior leadership re-org , which saw off former Nokia head Steven Elop, saw the Microsoft CEO say “Kirill Tatarinov is going to explore what’s next for him.”

“Under Kirill’s leadership,” Nadella wrote, “the Dynamics business has grown to a nearly $2 billion business with an ambitious wave of products on the horizon. Perhaps most important though, Kirill and team have shown us that participating in a meaningful way in the CRM and ERP market opens up new opportunities we can uniquely take advantage of by bringing Dynamics into Microsoft’s mainstream engineering, sales and marketing efforts.”

Fine words, but Microsoft's hardly an ERP and CRM giant. A $2bn business is not one to sneer at, but Oracle's sprawl into line-of-business applications has been vastly more successful than Microsoft's.

Citrix's canned statement about the appointment says “Kirill’s strong product management background and extensive technology leadership experience make him the right person to oversee Citrix’s innovation and growth strategy.”

What is that growth strategy? For now it's a shrinkage strategy: Citrix has recently axed 1,000 jobs and announced it will spin out its GoTo SaaS business. The company's longer-term ambitions lie in making it possible to publish applications to all manner of devices, with a stack of products that start with a hypervisor, include special-purpose hardware and go all the way out to mice for iPads.

Citrix dominated the market for this stuff for years, but VMware has of late targeted it aggressively with its Horizon products. As application publishing has sprawled into mobile device management, Citrix has found itself in another tangle with Virtzilla's AirWatch wing while also having to contend with the likes of Good and Samsung's Knox. And Apple now makes a pen for the iPad, or at least the Pro model.

At the time of writing, Citrix's stock price had jumped 43 cents to US$66.50, a 0.65 per cent hop that doesn't look like market enthusiasm for Tatarinov's appointment. Ratings agencies, and activist investor Elliot Management, think Citrix should be doing rather better. No pressure, then for Tatarinov. But also, perhaps, a little breathing space as Citrix added two new board members in late December 2015 and has appointed Tatarinov to that body, too. The refreshed brains trust how gets to put its stamp on the company in its search for growth and ongoing relevance. ®

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