Big Switch Networks co-founder Guido Appenzeller is stepping aside as CEO, the company is announcing Tuesday morning.
He’s handing the job to former Juniper executive Douglas Murray as the company embarks on its new software-defined networking (SDN) plan. Appenzeller remains with the company as CTO and is still on the board.
Big Switch isn’t saying a lot about the reasons for the change. But with the company setting a new course — dropping overlay networks in favor of a vision of converged physical- and virtual-network control — it’s hardly surprising to see someone new take the helm.
Big Switch’s message started running into interference last year as VMware, Cisco, OpenDaylight, and others started turning up the volume on their own ideas of SDN. From the outside (and with perfect 20/20 hindsight), it seems Big Switch needed to recognize its original business plan wasn’t going to stand.
Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, brought this up as I was putting together the SDNCentral story about Juniper’s CEO options. “Typically, I don’t think founders make good CEOs. They’re to close to it to see the flaws,” he said. (He brought up Big Switch as an example, but we had no idea they were about to name a new CEO. Or I didn’t, anyway.)
That article didn’t peg Murray as a candidate. Maybe it should have. He’s been running Juniper’s Asia/Pacific business, and he’s also been senior vice president in charge of data center security. Further back in his resume are stints with Extreme Networks, Sun, and AT&T. He’s also been on the board of Altor Networks (a security startup Juniper acquired in 2010), FireEye, and Jaega Software.