Diane Greene, co-founder, president and chief executive of virtualisation company VMware, left the company on Tuesday. The company issued adverse revenue news on the same day.
VMware shares subsequently fell by $13 (£7) to $24 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The company announced on Tuesday that it had "made a change in the leadership of the company" and that Greene [pictured] was to be replaced by Paul Maritz as president and chief executive "effective immediately". Maritz was also appointed to the VMware board of directors.
"As one of the founders and the leader of VMware, Diane guided the creation and development of a company that is changing the way that people think about computing. The board thanks her for her considerable contributions to VMware and wishes her every success in the future," said Joe Tucci, chief executive of VMware's parent company, EMC, and chairman of VMware's board of directors. Greene had been on a one-year contract with VMware, signed just before its successful IPO in August 2007.
Maritz is best known for his time at Microsoft, from which he retired in 2000, after 14 years with the company. During that period, Maritz managed the development and marketing of some of the company's major products, including such major releases as Windows 95 and Windows NT. After leaving Microsoft, Maritz founded Pi Corporation, a start-up software company focused on cloud computing.
"Paul Maritz will be the man steering the [VMware] ship, and I wonder whether his experience in the cloud-computing space will impact the direction the company moves in," said Serguei Beloussov, chief executive of virtualisation company Parallels.
"We see the cloud model, including software as a service and hosting, playing a prominent role in the future of IT, and virtualisation will help enable this evolution. There is clear user demand for software to be offered in this way, so it will be interesting to see whether Paul focuses on this opportunity, shifting from selling primarily to the enterprise datacentre to targeting service providers," Beloussov added.
In the last paragraph of the statement announcing Greene's departure, VMware said that, while the company was "not updating guidance for Q2", it expected "revenues for the full year of 2008 will be modestly below the previous guidance of 50 percent growth over 2007".