In a surprise move, Red Hat said Thursday that Matthew Szulik is as president and chief executive on January 1, to be replaced by James Whitehurst, 40, Delta Air Lines’ former chief operating officer.
Szulik, who took over as CEO from Bob Young in 1999 just a few months after its initial public offering, said he’s stepping down because of family health issues.
“For the last nine months, I’ve struggled with health issues in my family,” and that priority couldn’t be balanced with work, Szulik said in an interview. “This job requires a 7×24, 110 percent commitment.”
Szulik, who remains chairman of the board, praised Whitehurst in a statement, saying he’s a “hands-on guy who will be a strong cultural fit at Red Hat” and “a talented executive who has successfully led a global technology-focused organization at Delta.”
On a conference call, Szulik said Whitehurst stood “head and shoulders” above other candidates interviewed in a recruiting process. He was a programmer earlier in his career and runs four versions of Linux at home, he said.
Source: CNET News