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SolarWinds Names New CEO and Files with SEC for Possible SolarWinds MSP Sale

Sudhakar Ramakrishna (pictured) will replace Kevin Thompson as president and CEO of SolarWinds next month. The federal paperwork positions the company for a spin-off of SolarWinds MSP as a separate company, a move still under consideration. By Rich Freeman

SolarWinds has named a new chief executive and filed interim paperwork on the road to a possible spin-off of its SolarWinds MSP unit.

Effective January 4th, industry veteran Sudhakar Ramakrishna will replace Kevin Thompson as the vendor’s president and CEO, and join its board of directors as well.

“Following an extensive and thorough search, we are delighted to welcome Sudhakar Ramakrishna as SolarWinds’ new CEO as we embark on an exciting new chapter in the company’s history,” said SolarWinds Chairman Bill Bock in a media statement. “Sudhakar is a proven leader and has significant experience leading and scaling world-class, global technology organizations. His deep expertise in strategic planning and execution, organizational development and product strategy will be especially beneficial and, when teamed with the seasoned SolarWinds leadership team, will provide strong and experienced executive leadership for the future of SolarWinds.”

Bock also thanked Thompson, who has been president of SolarWinds since the start of 2009 and became CEO as well a little over a year later, in his statement. 

“Under his guidance, SolarWinds has grown into a leader in IT infrastructure management with a portfolio of products designed to meet the real world needs of IT professionals who manage today’s complex IT environments. He has been instrumental in helping build a company with a differentiated financial profile, strong discipline and a close connection with the IT Pro, DevOps and MSP communities. SolarWinds is well positioned, thanks to his long-time leadership and dedication,” Bock said.

Ramakrishna, who most recently was CEO of Pulse Secure, previously served as senior vice president and general manager for the enterprise and service provider division at Citrix, where he oversaw the company’s virtualization, cloud networking, mobile platform, and cloud services product families. Pulse was acquired by Ivanti in a deal that closed last week.

“SolarWinds is at the forefront of enabling customers to manage complex IT environments with simple and integrated solutions. I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the excellent team at SolarWinds to accelerate our focus on customer success, as we deliver solutions to serve the emerging needs of IT, Application and Security professionals even as they adapt to an increasingly hybrid world,” said Sudhakar Ramakrishna in prepared remarks.

SolarWinds announced a potential spin-off of SolarWinds MSP as an independent, publicly traded business in August. The company today disclosed that it has confidentially submitted a Form 10 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with that transaction, a step that positions it to move ahead with the sale, should it decide to, later. 

Board members are still evaluating that deal at present. In a conversation with ChannelPro in October, however, SolarWinds MSP President John Pagliuca strongly endorsed the potential benefits of going public as a separate entity, and indicated that Thompson shares that view. Parting ways would allow SolarWinds MSP to dedicate 100% of its attention to growing its portfolio, partner base, and recurring revenues, he said, while freeing SolarWinds to focus exclusively on its legacy products and business model.

“It’ll be really good for our partners and for our customers and the MSPs that are out there,” said Pagliuca during a virtual partner conference two months ago.

SolarWinds MSP rival Datto executed an initial public offering of its own in October. Another competitor, Kaseya, has an IPO in the works for next year as well.

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