Nutanix’s stock is soaring more than 28 percent Friday morning following a slew of news announcements from the company, including the upcoming retirement of CEO Dheeraj Pandey, whom many consider the soul and driving force behind Nutanix.
“He’s been the driving force, the face, and really the spirit behind Nutanix since it started,” said Craig Manahan, senior practice manager for RoundTower Technologies, a US-based Nutanix partner. “I’m in shock.”
Nutanix’s stock was up 28 percent to US$28.87 per share on Friday in the US. The hyper-converged and cloud software superstar hasn’t reached such share prices heights since prior to the coronavirus pandemic in February.
Pandey told CRN he plans to retire from the company he founded in 2009 and grew into a US$1.6 billion software powerhouse when Nutanix finds a successor, which likely won’t be anytime soon.
“We’re going to take the time to find the correct person. All in all, I think there’s no better time to leave on a high,” he said. “When I look back, there was a ton of soul searching. COVID changes everything. The way it has changed my personal relationships, it’s very important that I focus on things that matter.”
At first glance, it might be surprising to see Nutanix’s stock soaring after its co-founder and leader announces his departure.
However, at the same time Pandey unveiled his retirement plans, Nutanix also announced that Bain Capital Private Equity is making an US$750 million investment in the company.
“Nutanix is executing on a compelling vision for a differentiated hybrid cloud platform that provides flexible environments and is easily paired with other cloud platforms,” said David Humphrey, a managing director at Bain Capital Private Equity in a statement.
In connection with the investment, Humphrey and Bain’s Managing Director Max de Groen will join Nutanix’s Board of Directors following the close of the US$750 million transaction, which is expected to occur in late September.
“We look forward to working closely with the Board and the management team to build on Nutanix’s leadership position and realize its strong vision for the future,” said Max de Groen.
Nutanix stock is also likely up 28 percent due to the company’s strong performance in its fourth fiscal quarter, ended July 31, despite the global COVID-19 pandemic.
On Thursday Nutanix reported fourth quarter earnings of US$328 million, up 9 percent year over year, all from software and support sales. Billings reached US$389 million, up 5 percent compared to the same quarter one year ago.
Nutanix’s market cap stands at US$5.5 billion as of Friday.
Nutanix was a pioneer in hyper-converged infrastructure but successfully transformed itself over the past three years away from hardware and into a software and subscription company, while forming strategic partnerships with public cloud leaders like AWS. Nutanix and VMware have been battling for worldwide hyper-converged software market dominance over the past several years.
The company is forming a CEO search committee to find a replacement for Pandey, led by Nutanix’s board with assistance from a global executive search firm.
“All 6,000 of our employees, all 18,000 of our customers and all 10,000-plus of our channel partners, I know they’re carry the torch forward. I think they’ll understand that this is an extremely personal thing, where, this pandemic did make me think a lot about what really matters,” said Pandey.
“Obviously, I’m going to continue to lead the board and management team until a successor is appointed,” he added. “It’s very important to make sure the baton is passed to the right person.”