Commvault has a new puppet-master pulling its strings

Commvault has appointed Sanjay Mirchandani, who ran Puppet, as its new President and CEO, and the man is fresh to enterprise data protection and management but full of energy.

Ex-CEO and President and Chairman Bob Hammer becomes Chairman Emeritus after running Commvault for 20 years, while Nick Adamo becomes board chairman. He became a board member in August last year, being a board new broom following activist investor Elliott Management’s involvement with Commvault.

It was Elliott’s influence that caused Commvault to initiate its Advance restructuring project and Hammer’s agreed resignation last May.

Al Bunte, who has served alongside Hammer for more than two decades, is stepping down from his role as COO while maintaining his board position. Both Hammer and Bunte will remain with the company through a transitionary period, with Hammer stepping away from the transition effective arch 31, 2019.

In a Forbes article Mirchandani wrote; “Once-dominant stalwarts are being disrupted by well-financed software startups that, rather than building a better mousetrap, decided to engineer a better mouse.”

That sounds catchy if we think of the mouse as software and mousetrap as hardware, with Mirchandani as the mouse-man.

Puppet products automate the production, delivery and configuration of software, and Commvault reckons it needs a modern software-focussed CEO.

Sanjay Mirchandani

MIrchandani has senior exec, including CIO, experience at Microsoft, Dell EMC and VMware in his CV, and ran Puppet for almost three years.

Kevin Compton, co-founder and partner at Radar Partners and Puppet board member, said: “We are truly indebted to Sanjay for the incredible impact he’s had on Puppet. Under his leadership, Puppet acquired two companies and opened five new offices in Seattle, Singapore, Sydney, Timisoara, and Tokyo. Sanjay also oversaw a $42 million fundraise and took Puppet from a single product company to a multi-product portfolio company. We’re incredibly grateful for his leadership.”

Yvonne Wassenaar replaces him as CEO at Puppet.

Why Commvault?

 In a briefing Michandani told us it was time for a change at Puppet, and he wanted to move back to the East coast of the USA; he has family in the New Jersey area, where Commvault is head-quartered.

Commvault is attractive to Mirchandani because it is a bigger company and in good shape. We asked if it could become a billion dollar company: “The space is growing really rapidly. I’m not going to put a number on it just yet. I”m very excited about this space. Infrastructure and applications are coming together” and “data is paramount. We’re in a great position to define that to our customers.”

He likes where Commvault is located in the marketed: “I think we’re in a great place. The amount of data we manage in the cloud is approaching an exabyte and growing rapidly.”

What about the well-funded upstarts such as Cohesity, Rubrik and Veeam?

“There’s something to be said for having been around for a while. Their funding is validation of the space being important.” Also, in comparison to Cohesity and Rubrik: “Commvault took less and does more. … A [customer] CIO needs someone to trust and one throat to choke. We have an unrivalled capability that spans from mainframes to containers.”

He said Commvault is investing in its partner eco-system but nothing about products and  strategies. 


Blocks & Files thinks Mirchandani has a learning curve ahead of him but already sees the need to nurture Commvault’s installed base. Apart from that his time at  Puppet shows he is willing to acquire needed technology and grow a product portfolio. 

Cohesity, Rubrik and Veeam now have a fight on their hands, as Mirchandani won’t want to let the/his stalwart Commvault be disrupted by these cash-rich upstarts. He could be a quick study, taking Hammer’s legacy and getting Commvault growing to the billion dollar revenue level and beyond. We expect him to hit the ground running – fast.