VMware president Sumit Dhawan out – scores gig as CEO of infosec vendor Proofpoint

Amid accounts of wider layoffs and Broadcom doing a 'strategic review' of end-user compute and Carbon Black products

VMware president Sumit Dhawan has left the newly-acquired org to join security software vendor Proofpoint as its CEO.

Proofpoint announced the appointment on Tuesday, praising Dhawan's track record.

Proofpoint's previous CEO, Ashan Willy, stepped down "to pursue an opportunity outside of the cyber security space" in October. CFO Rémi Thomas occupied the big chair until Dhawan's appointment.

Dhawan is not the only departure from VMware. The Register has read many social media posts in which staff let go since the close of the Broadcom acquisition lament their departure, and those who remain celebrate what VMware achieved.

Some layoffs have been made official: the State of Colorado real-time list of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notices – filings required of companies that make redundancies – mentions 184 job losses at VMware's Broomfield offices. Accounts we've read suggest Broadcom has given workers 60 days' notice – so at least the Christmas/New Year period won't be entirely wretched for those let go.

But trickier times may lie ahead for staff who worked on VMWare's Carbon Black security products, and/or its suite of end-user compute products.

The Register suggests that outcome following CRN reports that Broadcom has told the VMware channel to stop bundling Carbon Black and end-user compute products with VMware products as it seeks "strategic alternatives" for the two product lines.

Sources have also shared a document we understand to be an email sent by Broadcom CEO Hock Tan to all staff, in which he mentioned a plan to "review strategic alternatives for these two businesses."

The Register asked Broadcom for comment. We were told the biz has nothing say beyond confirmation of its decision to restructure the virtualization pioneer into four divisions – none of which mention anything to do with the role played by VMware's end-user compute portfolio.

The Register's virtualization desk fancies Broadcom may consider a spin-out of the businesses, with Carbon Black an obvious exclusion as it overlaps with the combined org's Symantec portfolio.

Broadcom declined to comment on whether a review is happening, or what it might entail.

VMware's social media advocacy team has, meanwhile, shared a document [PDF] prepared by analyst firm IDC's Custom Solutions that features an interview with Hock Tan. Readers who have followed the Broadcom/VMware saga will find it familiar, as the Broadcom boss states his intention to invest in hybrid cloud tools that give users a choice of where to run their workloads, and to invest in R&D and VMware's channel.

The interview does not include any questions that would have seen Tan raise a sweat, but the document's author – Stephen Elliot, group vice president for infrastructure & operations, cloud operations, and DevOps – does at least observe "Broadcom will have to successfully manage the transition of VMware as part of Broadcom's operating model, culture, and management/Business Unit structure."

He's right on that: VMware's competitors are not holding back from reminding customers they represent an alternative and are ready to talk. And once Broadcom's redundancies take effect, those customers will have evidence of whether the acquirer has executed its transition successfully. ®

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