It's still not clear why. However, it now appears that he left to pursue a new opportunity at a major California-based technology company.
With the help of Stevens' technical leadership, Red Hat moved from being one of many Linux distributors that were targeting the Linux enthusiast market to focusing all its energies on the business market with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) in 2004. In more recent years, Stevens helped lead and .
In the meantime, Red Hat still has little to say. The only additional statement from Red Hat is a remark that Stevens was "leaving to pursue another opportunity." While Stevens did not reply to inquires, sources stated that he'd been biding his time waiting for the right opportunity.
Stevens' eyes may have been wandering elsewhere because of conflicts with Red Hat's president of products and technologies Paul Cormier. Cormier will be taking over the office of the CTO for the time being.
Red Hat staffers will miss him. One said, "I would follow Brian anywhere he took strategic decisions. He's a genuine careful considerate man who looked at the big picture. He crafted Red Hat into a finely spoked machine enabling community engagement, upstream intelligent contributions, and the ability to converse at a level that Red Hat never took for granted."
Another staffer commented: "He is one of the most highly respected people at Red Hat. He will be greatly missed. He's genuinely 'good people.'"
From the business side, Mizuho Securities senior technology analyst Abhey Lamba reiterated a Buy rating on Red Hat. In a note, he wrote that "we believe [Stevens] is leaving for another opportunity in the open source space." As for Red Hat, the analyst think that Red Hat will have "smooth transition" since Cormier is also a veteran Red Hat senior executive who's been with the company since 2001.