Abby Kearns takes over as Puppet CTO

Cloud Foundry's former head has moved to the popular DevOps program Puppet -- where she'll be the CTO. Puppet’s current CTO, Deepak Giridharagopal is also staying on and retaining the CTO title.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

After more than a decade as the head of the popular open-source, Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) cloud Cloud Foundry, Abby Kearns is now the CTO of top DevOps program Puppet

Kearns recently left Cloud Foundry in the capable hands of Chip Childers. At Puppet, Kearns will oversee Puppet's product growth and help its product portfolio evolve. Part of that involves getting Puppet to deliver on the promise of helping enterprises modernize and manage their infrastructure -- and, based on earlier comments by Puppet CEO Yvonne Wassenaar, making Puppet more cloud and open-source friendly. Kearns is ideally suited for this job.

Deepak Giridharagopal is also staying on as CTO. Giridharagopal will be in charge of research and development. Kearns will be in charge of expanding Puppet's current product portfolio and communicating the business value of Puppet's offerings to its enterprise customers.

In a TechCrunch interview, Kearns said she also sees her new job as helping change IT's perceptions of Puppet. "Puppet had great technology and really drove the early DevOps movement, but they kind of fell off the face of the map. Nobody thought of them as anything other than config management. And, so I was like, well, you know, problem No. 1: Fix that perception problem. If that's no longer the reality or otherwise, everyone thinks you're dead," said Kearns.

Kearns is optimistic about Puppet's future. She told ZDNet, "Puppet's technology runs some of the most critical businesses, governments, and municipalities around the globe. The current situation driven by COVID-19 highlights the ability Puppet has to help leaders run their organizations more efficiently, securely, and remotely when required."

Her role as CTO will be "to lead the vision and direction of Puppet's current and future product portfolio as we continue to double down on making infrastructure automation simple, actionable, scalable, and intelligent. We want to enable our Global 5000 customers to achieve efficiency without turning their back on innovation," she said.

Kearns will also work with the many companies she knows from her time at Cloud Foundry in order to bring Puppet more business. "I'll be partnering directly with those enterprises to effectively shift how they are managing and scaling their infrastructure in an increasingly hybrid world," she said.

While well known in DevOps circles as one of its pioneers, Puppet has recently had business trouble. The company recently laid off employees. At the time, Puppet's CEO, Wassenaar, said this was because of the coronavirus pandemic: "We trust the industry experts who tell us we can expect a slowing in global economic activity in the second quarter of this year and a 'new normal' for how businesses will operate going forward,"

Hopefully, Kearns will help change this around. 

Wassenaar said,  "As we continue to drive accelerated impact in the marketplace, we need the right people at the table to bring our vision to life. This is why I'm thrilled to welcome Abby Kearns as our CTO. Abby is keenly aware of Puppet's mission, having served on our Product Advisory Board for the last year, and is a technologist at heart. She brings a great balance to this position for us - she has deep experience in the enterprise and understands how to solve problems at massive scale."

With the pandemic pushing businesses faster than ever to the cloud, Kearns seems the ideal person to help Puppet restore its business fortunes.

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