Two WekaIO hires: an exec chairman and a president

Furiously fast filesystem startup WekaIO has hired Amit Pandey as Executive Chairman and Jonathan Martin as President, following the abrupt departure of President and Chief Revenue Officer Ken Grohe in May.

Grohe left after less than 12 months in the post, and has been taken on as an SVP and Chief Revenue Officer at IBM-acquired Taos — a consultancy and managed services company. He works in the cloud adoption and DevOps areas.

WekaIO CEO and Co-Founder Liran Zvibel issued a statement saying: “Amit’s proven track record of leading highly innovative organisations through hypergrowth is perfect for our next stage, and Jonathan’s intimate understanding of customer needs at the most successful companies in this space are the perfect combination to ready us for Weka’s next phase of growth. I welcome Jonathan to the presidency and look forward to working with him and Amit to accelerate Weka’s future endeavors.”

Amit Pandey.

Pandey was the CEO of Avi Networks from September 2015 to June 2019, when VMware bought Avi Networks. He served as VP of NSX Services at the Network and Security Business Unit at VMware.  

Before that he was CEO at Zenprise from April 2012 to March 2014, when Zenprise was acquired by Citrix. Prior to that he was CEO at Terracotta from July 2006 to November 2001, when Teracotta was bought by Software AG. 

There’s something of a pattern here — three CEO roles leading to three acquisitions. It stands out, doesn’t it?

WekaIO says he will be leading it through its next phase of growth and will oversee administrative and operational functions. but we are not told which ones. Pandey has not become Weka’s CEO —; that post is held by Liran Zwibel — but he is Executive Chairman, which is not a hands-off role and is sometimes associated with a coming CEO transition. Is some form of transition in the future?

A Pandey statement said: “The beauty of WekaFS is that it offers the simplicity of NAS, the performance of SAN or DAS, and the scale of object storage … With its unique software-defined architecture, customers can run on-premises, natively in the cloud, or orchestrate their data effortlessly between the two.” 

Jonathan Martin.

The other exec-level hire, Jonathan Martin, was the Chief Marketing Officer at Hitachi Vantara from March 2019 to May 2021, the CMO at Pure Storage from July 2015 to July 2017, and the CMO at EMC from March 2014 to June 2015. This guy is a CMO through and through, but he does not have the CMO title at Weka. 

His responsibilities will be overseeing Weka’s marketing, customer success, and global go-to-market initiatives — a CMO role in all but name. A statement by Martin said: “The company has enjoyed tremendous success over the years with plenty of avenues still left to explore. Weka has a data platform that delivers the simplicity, speed, and scale that modern enterprises need to achieve positive business outcomes. The combination of this leading technology with a successful partner infrastructure in place makes for an ideal situation for further success.”

There is no Chief Revenue Officer at Weka. The nearest position to that would would seem to be Sales VP Andrew Perry.

Weka’s announcement said it saw “significant market momentum in 2020 and has achieved significant growth fuelled by its new customer adoption in the US and across Europe and Asia.” If we were picky, we might wonder at why nothing was said about market momentum in the first half of 2021. Perhaps that was a factor in Grohe’s departure.

Best wishes to both new execs — it will be interesting to see if the company makes any changes to its business, product and marketing strategies as a result of having these two on board.