MariaDB hires new CEO with code daddy Monty in as CTO

CEO: 'This is my manifest destiny'

MariaDB has welcomed Michael Howard as its new CEO. MySQL giant Michael "Monty" Widenius has also been appointed as CTO.

The appointments have been announced today, alongside a $9m equity financing bundle from Intel Capital and California Technology Ventures, among others.

Howard is a Berkeley graduate who has worked at Oracle, and was previously chief executive at OuterBay (acquired by HP), Ingrian Networks (acquired by SafeNet) and C9 (acquired by InsideSales) among others.

Asked by The Register if he had been brought in to sell the company, Howard said "No."

"There's always a price, of course," acknowledged Howard, "but I'm not in it to make money. I'm here to put my stamp on the industry. I'm making this personal."

According to MariaDB, Howard will scale the company "to continue its steep growth". The exec, who has been travelling around northern Europe, said of his appointment: "For me - this is a bit American - this is my manifest destiny."

This is my manifest destiny

Howard was the VP of data warehousing and integration technologies at Oracle for four years, and told us that during that time he had aspired to integrate data mining directly into the Oracle database.

Unfortunately, he said that while "data science and machine learning are almost ordinary language in today's world" they were "not driven in the late '90s [but] the market is now ready for that."

"Michael’s proven leadership and deep operational and technology expertise will enable MariaDB to extend its position in the open source database market," said Scott Raskin, independent director on the MariaDB board.

"With his extensive experience driving growth at both private and public companies, we believe Michael's leadership will enable MariaDB to capitalise on the massive shifts and opportunities it is addressing in the data management space," Raskin added.

Howard told The Register he was bringing his "ability to see the entire stack of what's going on in the world" to the company.

MariaDB Corporation has in the past described itself as a "drop-in replacement" for MySQL, the open source database from which MariaDB forked in 2009. MySQL could be seen by some as a softish target for MariaDB sales jockeys. MySQL was bought by Sun Microsystems in 2008 for $1bn. Sun in turn was bought by Oracle in 2010 and since then MySQL has languished under its ownership. MariaDB forked from MySQl in 2009 and its lead dev is Monty Widenius, who was a MySQL co-founder.

The Full Monty

Monty serves on the boards of MariaDB and the MariaDB Foundation, "the non-profit organisation charged with promoting, protecting and advancing the MariaDB codebase, community, and ecosystem."

"Monty is just simply great," the new CEO told The Register. "He's a force of nature, one of the few ones on our Earth. Distinguishing between code and his physical being is inseparable."

Monty himself declared that "As part of the MariaDB team, I will be able to create innovative data management capabilities more quickly, and ensure these are open and accessible to the global development community by continuing the close collaboration with the MariaDB Foundation."

"I truly believe at this point that MariaDB with Monty is the best team in the world," said Michael Howard. ®

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