July 25, 2013, 6:17 PM — Rackspace President Lew Moorman is stepping down from leading the company, he announced in a blog post today, but will remain on the board of directors of the cloud computing and managed hosting company.
Moorman has been with the company for 13 years. He has played an important role in developing OpenStack, the open source cloud computing platform that Rackspace and NASA jointly founded three years ago. Rackspace CEO Lanham Napier will add president to his title once Moorman officially steps down in the coming weeks.
Cloud watcher Larry Carvalho, an analyst and consultant at Robust Cloud, says he'll be interested to see what, if any impact, Moorman's move has on OpenStack. Rackspace is an important member of the open source community, he says, hosting one of the few public cloud offerings based on OpenStack code, and being one of the chief contributors of code to the project.
While Rackspace's support for OpenStack is unlikely to waiver, especially with Napier taking over the executive role, the direction and priorities that Rackspace takes could change with Moorman stepping down. For example, there's a large debate within the OpenStack community right now about how much compatibility OpenStack should have with Amazon Web Services, which is perhaps Rackspace's biggest competitor. In the past, Moorman has not been shy about expressing feelings related to keeping Rackspace and OpenStack completely separate from AWS.
Rackspace has also been the subject of some acquisition discussions, Carvalho says, which intensified in recent weeks after IBM bought IaaS company SoftLayer. An opening at the top executive level of the company could reinvigorate that chatter, he says.
In the blog post, Moorman noted that members of his immediate family are undergoing health issues, which is why he is transitioning out of the president's role. Moorman's stepping down marks the third executive shakeup at a major tech company this week. Juniper Networks CEO Kevin Johnson announced his retirement this week; he plans to step down once a replacement is found. Polycon President and CEO Andrew Miller stepped down after an expense report scandal rocked that company.