There is change in the air for Docker, the company that, more than anybody else, helped make software containers popular among developers. But while Docker kicked off this movement, its now under pressure from the growing ecosystem of Kubernetes-based services and other startups that threaten to drown out the earlier leader of this movement. So maybe it doesnt come as a surprise that after four years at the helm of the company, Docker CEO Ben Golub today announcedhe is stepping down.
Golub will be replaced by Steve Singh, who is joining Docker from SAP. Singh joined SAP after that company acquired Concur, where he was CEO (so blame him if youhave ever tried to find a hotel in Concurs laughably bad search interface). He became Dockers chairman in late 2016.
While there is always some uncertainty about changing roles, I am 100% certain that Steve is the right person for Docker, Golub writes in todays announcement (but what else was he going to say in a public statement?).
Singh took Concur from startup toIPO to an $8.3 billion acquisition. Its worth noting that this isnt really a case of replacing a startup CEO with a more experienced operator. Golubs career at Gluster, Plaxo, Avid and Verisign, after all, is impressive in its own right.
Docker has the potential to become not only one of the most enduring technology companies, but also a transformational platform, technology, and movement; I cant think of a better or more qualified individual to lead us to that future than Steve, writes Golub today.
Singh takes the reins of Docker at a crucial time for the company. After making the distinction between its open source foundation and commercial offerings clearer at its annual developer conference only a few weeks ago, it is now on a path where it needs to aggressively court moreenterprise users and expand its product portfolio or it risks falling behind the growing number of competitors, as much of the core container technologies become commoditizedthanks to the work of CoreOS, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and various other startups and open source communities.Singh has that kind of enterprise experience thanks to his work at Concur and SAP.
Its also worth noting that Dockers investors, which have now put a total of more than $180 million into the company, surely dont want to see the company and their investments run into trouble.