Infinidat’s founding CEO does a Larry and steps aside

Seventy-year-old Infinidat founder and CEO Moshe Yanai is stepping aside to become Chief Technology Evangelist, and has appointed a pair of co-CEOs to run the business.

Yanai founded Infinidat in 2010 with help from Dr Alex Winokur on the patent front. Winokur was the founder and CEO of data centre black box recorder company Axxana, which Infinidat acquired in 2018. 

Moshe Yanai

The news was announced in a blog in which Yanai wrote: “As I celebrate my 70th birthday, I can’t help but be amazed looking back at the extraordinary progress of technology, and its profound influence on humanity.

“My life’s work is, and continues to be, focused on a small but delightfully complex piece of that puzzle–inventing new technologies for storing the vast amount of information created by humankind, and then working with customers to imagine the next generation of use cases, applications, and platforms made possible by these new technologies.”

He says “Infinidat is the culmination of this journey.”

The company has developed its InfiniBox array as a high-end block and file storage device utilising disk drives for bulk storage and a large amount of DRAM caching to provide access speeds faster than all-flash arrays. The use of disk drives is diametrically opposed to other mainstream storage array suppliers who have all transitioned from disk to SSDs to ramp up data access speed.

After three rounds of funding, totalling $325m, customers of the firm – now a mature startup – have installed more than 6EB of array capacity since 2014, “with over an exabyte of sales in the past six months alone.” 

Co-CEOs

The co-CEOs are COO Kariel Sandler and CFO Nir Simon. Sandler has been with Yanai for 16 years and currently looks after Infinidat’s R&D and Operations divisions; the majority of Infinidat’s workforce.  Simon has been with Yanai for 13 years. Yanai says he is ”supremely confident in their ability to lead Infinidat’s business.”

Another famous founding CEO, Oracle’s Larry Ellison, stepped sideways into a CTO role in September 2014, appointing both CFO Safra Katz and President Mark Hurd as CEOs. This co-CEO-dom lasted until Hurd’s death in 2019.

Veeam also tried a co-CEO ploy in May 2017 when CEO Bill Largent became board chairman. Co-founder and CTO Andrei Baronov and President and COO Peter McKay were the two CEOs. It didn’t last as McKay left for new endeavours in October 2018. He’s now running computer security company Snyk.

Yanai will focus on Infinidat’s strategic vision and the present and future needs of its customers to develop a roadmap. He is closely collaborating with Infinidat investors TPG and Goldman Sachs, “to drive towards our next phases of growth.”

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