On Monday, Citrix announced former Gartner analyst and longtime community contributor Gunnar Berger will be their new CTO of Desktops and Applications. Gunnar has been with Gartner for over two years, and is the latest analyst to leave for a role with a vendor. (Chris Wolf left earlier this year to take the CTO Americas role at VMware, and Alessandro Perili moved into a GM role at Red Hat.)
The real news here is that Citrix has finally filled the role vacated when Harry Labana left Citrix for AppSense. That’s three years that Citrix has gone without a CTO of Desktops and Applications!!!
To put that into perspective, here’s a list of what was going on in the world when Citrix last had a desktop CTO:
- Everyone thought Charlie Sheen had normal human blood
- The Space Shuttle was still a thing
- The iPhone 4 was the current phone, and Steve Jobs was still changing the world
- Rebecca Black was just a student in Irvine, CA, and saying “it’s Friday” did not cause people to start singing.
- Nobody knew who Anthony Weiner was, let alone Carlos Danger
- Oprah was still on the air
- “Planking” was just the process of turning trees into wood boards
- People thought it was necessary to tweet about their “first world problems”
Since then, Simon Crosby and Ian Pratt left Citrix to start Bromium, Sumit Dhawan and Bob Schulz left to take positions at VMware, and Citrix released several versions of XenApp and XenDesktop. They also bought at least eight companies since they last had a CTO, including FrameHawk, Podio, AppDNA, ShareFile, Virtual Computer, Zenprise, Ringcube, and Kaviza. Harry Labana has even changed jobs and now is the Chief Product Officer at CloudVolumes.
Lately Citrix has been challenged with managing customers’ sentiments regarding the end of XenApp (and subsequent return) and the addition of competition in the form of VMware Horizon 6. They’re also having to deal with litany of customer issues (either code issues, support, or product lifecycle challenges) and a number of products with futures that are less than certain, like MCS & PVS, Edgesight, Framehawk, and VDI-in-a-Box. Hiring Gunnar gives them the public face to help navigate these waters that they’ve been without for too long.