Rackspace CEO Napier retires - Weston to fill role for now

By Sooraj Shah
11 Feb 2014 View Comments

Cloud service provider Rackspace's CEO, Lanham Napier (pictured), is retiring, with co-founder and executive chairman Graham Weston filling the hot seat until a replacement is found.

Napier, 42, who joined the company in 2000, had started as CFO, before becoming president and then CEO in 2006.

In a blog post, Napier said that there were a number of reasons why he had decided to step down.

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"There's no perfect time for a transition like this one. However, I recently decided now is as good a time as any," he said.

Weston, who held the CEO title between 1999 to 2006, will take up the role on a temporary basis. He will run the company in partnership with president Taylor Rhodes. In his own blog post, Weston said that this will give Rackspace's board "all the time it needs to conduct a careful, thorough search to find the right CEO for the next decade".

Napier will remain as a consultant with Rackspace to "help ensure a smooth transition".

After the announcement, Rackspace's shares fell by up to 13 per cent, while the firm also forecast lower than expected revenue for 2014, as competition in the cloud space heats up.

Weston stated that the company's 200,000-plus customers could find cheaper hosting "with a few keystrokes", but claimed that they choose to remain with Rackspace because of its extended support, portfolio and expertise.

The company is now shifting to becoming a hybrid cloud service provider, and in the past few years has tried to win over sceptics in the private and hybrid cloud communities with its OpenStack cloud computing platform.

Computing spoke to Napier in 2012, when he said that a shortage of candidates with the necessary skills for a career in IT had led to major technology companies being embroiled in a "talent war".

"There's a lot of poaching. Technology companies say ‘let's go and target this company and hire their people'. Rackspace do hire people from other companies but in the long-run, to solve our talent needs we need to develop people ourselves," he said.

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