July-August Management Moves


Market Insights

Welcome to our combined July - August 2018 market insights and executive moves update.

In this edition, we turn our attention to culture and recent comments on the topic from a diverse group of software CEOs.

Companies of all sizes have embraced the need to refresh their cultures and values to address weaknesses in diversity, inclusion, accountability and transparency. They have also focused on breaking down silos between teams, encouraging innovation and risk-taking, and striking a balance between financial achievement and service to a larger goal.

As Intuit’s outgoing CEO, Brad Smith, has said, “job one in creating a culture is building a purpose-driven culture. What is the mission of the company? What is the bigger idea that we are all part of?” For Intuit, that purpose is “powering prosperity around the world.” With a well-articulated purpose at the center, culture becomes a call to action to embrace a set of behaviors that help companies win in the market, and to inspire employees to become passionate team members and brand advocates.

Workday’s Aneel Bhusri took this concept a step further, arguing that, “your culture is your brand” and that “the beauty of the cloud model is that it [creates] customer intimacy [that] is mutually beneficial for both customer and company”. In short, as customers see your culture up close, they become advocates. And Workday CFO Robynne Sisco has said that “culture drives financial results”.

Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson also talked about how culture has impacts beyond an internal setting: “Culture is living your values…When your values are lived and interpreted inside and beyond company walls, they become your culture.”

ServiceNow’s John Donahoe spoke about culture in the context of helping customers understand the criticality of cultural change to the success of digital transformation. In this context, when companies adopt new technologies, they are really signing up for a “cultural shift in how [they] operate their businesses and in how employees do their work.”

HubSpot’s Brian Halligan recalled rolling his eyes when the topic of culture arose during the company’s early days. But as he began to meet quarterly with a group of CEO peers, he saw the potential to harness culture as, “a tool to manage a growing business” and realized that HubSpot already had a de facto culture that was a “key asset”. Echoing Donahoe, Halligan said, “Companies need to change the way they manage and lead to match the way that modern humans work and live.” This comment clearly suggests a more evolved view of the employee experience, but the implications extend to the creation of a culture that external stakeholders perceive as unapologetically modern and future-focused.

The shift to subscription-based business models has created a mass migration from product and sales-centric cultures to organizations that put the customer experience at the center of everything they do. This transformation is embodied in the rise of the customer success function and the Chief Customer Officer, as well as in the celebration of Amazon’s “customer obsession” and its many emulators.

Taken together, these observations indicate that while a company’s core values and mission can remain unchanged for decades, the evolution of the culture is driven by the collective behaviors of every individual who touches it. Satya Nadella, reflecting on building a new Microsoft culture centered around a growth and innovation mindset, said, “We’re making great progress, but we should never be done. This is a way of being. It’s about questioning ourselves each day.”

Thanks for reading. We invite you to visit our Culture Advisory site to learn more about how we help our clients get to know their own cultures, and predict whether a candidate will be a cultural fit.

Michael Feldman, San Francisco, Global Software & Cloud Practice Leader

Sean Roberts, London, Global Software & Cloud Practice Leader

Management Moves


Amazon Web Services

  • Tim Wagner, GM, AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and AWS Serverless App Repository, resigns and joins Coinbase as VP, Engineering



  • Greg Spratto, VP, Operations, resigns and joins Cision as COO


  • Chris Baker, MD, EMEA North and New Market Incubation at SAP Concur, appointed as SVP, EMEA


  • Vijoy Pandey, Head of Engineering for Data Center, Cloud and WAN Networks at Google, appointed as Chief Technology Officer, Service Provider Business
  • Wendy Bahr, SVP, Global Partner Organization, resigns
  • Yvette Kanouff, SVP, Service Provider Division, resigns; Christine Heckart, SVP, resigns



  • Nicholas Adamo, CEO of Intalock Technologies, appointed to Board of Directors; Joseph Eazor, CEO of Rackspace, resigns from Board


  • Christry Mable, Chief Marketing Officer, resigns and joins Visier as Chief Marketing Officer
  • Greg Stivers, SVP, Client Development, resigns and joins Avalara as SVP, Sales


  • Tom Gonser, Founder, and five Independent Directors resign; Blake Irving, former CEO of Godaddy, Steve Singh, CEO at Docker and Inhi Cho Suh, General Manager at IBM Watson, all appointed to Board of Directors


  • Dennis Woodside, COO, resigns
  • Adam Nash, former CEO at Wealthfront, appointed as VP, Product; Naman Khan, appointed as VP, Product Marketing and Global Campaigns


  • Alison Dean, CFO at iRobot, appointed to Board of Directors


  • Kent Walker, General Counsel, promoted to SVP, Global Affairs
  • Manish Gupta, VP, Engineering, resigns and joins Lyft as VP, Engineering
  • Shahriar Rabii, Senior Director of Engineering, resigns and joins Facebook as VP of Silicon
  • Apoorv Saxena, Head of Product Management, Cloud AI and Google AI Research, AI Verticals, resigns and joins JPMorgan as Global Head of AI and Machine Learning Services
  • Cornelius Willis, Global Lead, Technical and Solutions Marketing for Google Cloud Platform, resigns and joins Clari as Chief Marketing Officer


  • Tarek Robbiati, CFO at Sprint, appointed as CFO
  • Phil Davis, Chief Sales Officer, appointed as President, Hybrid IT
  • Denzil Samuels, former Global Chief Channel Officer, joins Service Source as Chief Marketing and Growth Officer



  • Lisa Gilbert, Chief Marketing Officer, UK and Ireland, appointed to Chief Marketing Officer, Japan
  • Philippe Oliva, MD, Financial Services, resigns and joins Eutelsat as EVP, Sales and Products
  • Sridhar Sudarsan, former CTO, Watson Solutions, resigns and joins SparkCognition as CTO


  • Brad Smith, CEO, to step down and become Executive Chairman; Sasan Goodarzi, EVP, Small Business, promoted to CEO; Tayloe Stansbury, Chief Technology Officer, to resign; Marianna Tessel, Chief Product Development Officer, Small Business and Self Employed, promoted to Chief Technology Officer


  • Matt Kaplan, Chief Product Officer and GM, Emerging Products, resigns and joins Acquia as SVP, Products


  • Mika Yamamoto, Chief Digital Marketing Officer at SAP, appointed as President



  • Shelley Bransten, SVP, Retail and Consumer Goods Industries at Salesforce, joins as VP, Global Retail and Consumer Goods

New Relic

  • Michael Christenson, MD at Allen & Company, joins Board of Directors; Caroline Watteeuw, Chief Information Officer at Caliber Home Loans, joins Board of Directors



  • Gary Weiss, SVP, Security, Discovery and Analytics, resigns and joins AspenTech as Chief Operating Officer


  • Richard Harris, Group Vice President, resigns and joins SparkPost as CEO


  • Ryan Bergstrom, VP, Product Management at Ultimate Software, appointed at Chief Product Officer; Charles Cagle, SVP, Human Capital Management at Infor, appointed as CTO


  • Madhur Aggarwal, SVP of SAP, Digital, appointed as SVP, Digital and Experience
  • Milena Marinova, Senior Director, AI Products Group at Intel, appointed as SVP, AI Products and Solutions


  • Klaus Oestermann, former SVP, Delivery Networks for Citrix, joins as COO; Gary Steele, CEO, adds Chairman role as founder Eric Hahn retires



  • John Chambers, Chairman Emeritus of Cisco, appointed as Advisor to the Board of Directors
  • Peter McGoff, Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary at Box, appointed as Chief Legal Officer; Jeff Vijungco, VP, Employee Experience and Global Talent at Adobe, appointed as Chief People Officer
  • Avon Puri, VP, IT Business at VMware, joins as Chief Information Officer


  • Sabby Gill, former EVP, International Sales, EMEA at Epicor, appointed to Director, UK and Ireland
  • Stephen Kelly, CEO, to resign; Steve Hare, CFO, to step in as COO
  • Ron McMurtrie, Interim Chief Marketing Officer, promoted to Chief Marketing Officer


  • Keith Block, COO, promoted to co-CEO
  • Brad Burns, SVP, Corporate Communications at AT&T, appointed as Chief Communications Officer

Software AG

  • Sanjay Brahmawar, former General Manager, Global Revenue Watson Internet of Things at IBM, joins as CEO
  • Raj Datta, Chief Revenue Officer at CiBO Technologies, appointed as COO, North America


  • Scott Hill, SVP, Finance, Consumer Business, resigns and joins MobileIron as CFO


  • Nils Puhlmann, interim Chief Security Officer, promoted to Chief Trust and Security Officer


  • Damon Fletcher, SVP, Finance and interim CFO, promoted to CFO
  • Adriano Chemin, former SVP, Sales, Cloud Applications at Oracle, joins as VP, LatAm


  • Eiji Uda, appointed as Chairman and CEO, Japan

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July-August Management Moves