How to get a self-castrated bull: Dave Hitz retires from NetApp

It’s the end of an era; NetApp co-founder and EVP Dave Hitz is retiring.

The news came in a blog and signals the end of a near 27-year remarkable career showing that nice guys can get to the top.

He writes: “I think of NetApp as my child. In any parent’s life, there comes a time when you are proud of your kid, you love your kid—but you don’t want to see them every day! If you’ve done a good job as a parent, they will do well on their own.”

He becomes a Founder Emeritus with CEO George Kurian’s co-operation and so will retain a connection with he company he founded with self-effacing James Lau and Michael Malcolm, although a much less active one.

Lau retired in late 2015. Malcolm had resigned earlier, in 1994, after a disagreement. 

Left to right: James Lau, Dave Hitz, Byron Rakitzis (one of the founders at Igneous in Seattle), unknown, Michael Malcolm.

Hitz memorably co-wrote a book; “How to Castrate a Bull,” and has served as an evangelising EVP and a sort of keeper of the company’s conscience.

Now he is separating himself almost completely from NetApp and this link to NetApp’s past is stretched wafer thin. Anyone who j-has watched Hitz present or seen him draw diagrams on his iPad will remember an effervescent character brimming with ideas and the way to express them.

Dave Hitz is a legendary engineer and will be sorely missed.