Maintaining the culture that customers seek is important for Red Hat under IBM

Customers come to Redhat because of its culture, ANZ MD Max McLaren has said.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Image: Asha Barbaschow/ZDNet

IBM announced in October last year that it would scoop up open source giant Red Hat for a cost of $34 billion.

With the deal finalised, and the companies having carried out business as usual for a few months now, Red Hat Australia and New Zealand managing director Max McLaren told ZDNet that his company has been progressing along, almost in a self-governing fashion.

"Ginni was very explicit; she said, 'I don't have a $34 billion deathwish'," McLaren said of IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's remarks around the acquisition. "She said, 'You know the reason we bought you is because of your unique experience in bringing great technology to market, and we appreciate that that's the culture, as well as the people, and so we're going to keep you in a little microcosm."

Speaking with media during Red Hat Forum 2019 in Melbourne on Tuesday, McLaren touched on the "synergy" team that is integrating what IBM and Red Hat are doing. This also includes working with Red Hat's partners that are traditionally known as competitors to Big Blue.

"Our CEO is very open and transparent and he has those conversations with us every month and talks about what he's been doing and what he thinks we all need to do, and it's almost a self-governing organisation," he said. "We just continue to drive it that way."

McLaren was expanding on remarks he made during his keynote.

"It has indeed been a momentous year for us at Red Hat and we are humbled by the recognition that IBM has made by investing in our culture, our people, and our technology to build a brighter future for our organisations," he said.

"Having worked for both of those organisations for the majority of my 35 years in this industry, I couldn't be more excited by the opportunity."

According to McLaren, Red Hat's customers are often drawn to the company for its culture, and want to learn how to adopt it within their own organisations.

CFO out in alleged workplace standards violation

Red Hat chief financial officer Eric Shander was shown the door last week for allegedly violating workplace standards, Raleigh News & Observer reported.

According to the report, Shander was dismissed without pay. It says the now former CFO had received $3.8 million in total compensation during fiscal year 2019, and that he would have been in line for a cash retention award of $4 million if he stayed with the company for 12 months following the IBM merger close.

With his departure, Shander misses out on the retention bonus, as the closure of the IBM merger was only finalised in July.

Shander started his tenure as Red Hat's EVP and CFO in December 2016, following a little over a year as the company's chief accounting officer.

Prior to Red Hat, Shander was with IBM, most recently in the capacity of VP of global technology services delivery.

Laurie Krebs, previously Red Hat's senior vice president of finance, has stepped in to fill Shander's role.

With Red Hat not making an official comment on Shander's departure, the Wall Street Journal said it was also told the CFO was "dismissed without pay in connection with Red Hat's workplace standards".

Asha Barbaschow travelled to Red Hat Forum as a guest of Red Hat.


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