Contain yourselves: new Diamanti CEO faces exec hiring opportunity

Executing a hyperconverged software to hyperconverged Kubernetes software pivot, startup Diamanti has changed its CEO — with a raft of consequent exec changes following the hiring.

Update: two more exec departures added. 10 Sep 2021.

Prior incumbent Tom Barton assumed the CEO role in September 2018 after a less than stellar three-month episode as Tintri’s CEO in 2018, just as it was about to crash and get acquired by DDN. Barton quit Diamanti in May to co-found and run Astira in June. There is little information about this enterprise — not even a web site — and Barton’s LinkedIn profile reads: “Astira is changing the way satellites are designed, built, and managed.” Good luck with that. 

Chris Hickey.

Diamanti’s board hired Chris Hickey to be the new CEO in the same month Barton resigned, implying no lengthy exec search process. This was an unexpected move as Hickey was previously the CEO of desktop publishing business Quark Software, being in that role for 28 months. 

A person close to the situation said Hickey’s hiring was an interesting move by the board and many staff are fleeing. We note the following Diamanti exec changes:

  • CFO Jony Hartono left in September, replaced by Arnaldo Perez.
  • Communications Director Laura Finlayson resigned in August.
  • VP Product Brian Waldon left in June.
  • Chief Revenue Officer Andy Wild left in June, going to Mirantis.
  • VP Marketing Jenny Fong left in February to join Apptio in April.
  • COO Karthik Govindhasamy left in July to be the co-founder and CTO at Astira.
  • Founding Engineer Hiral Patel resigned in July 2021.
  • Field CTO/Product Evangelist Boris Kurktchiev went in August 2021.

San Jose-based Diamanti was founded in 2014 and has taken in $78 million in funding, with the last round being a $35 million C-round in 2019. That followed an $18 million B-round in 2017. Cash might be running tight. LInkedIn lists 92 employees. Its leadership web page shows no overall head of sales, no COO and no marketing head.

Taking a look at employee reviews on Glassdoor leaves one speechless, with “Cut throat snake pit” being one description and “Worst company in the world” being another. The embitterance factor on Glassdoor can be excessive as we all know, so let’s not pay overmuch attention to these eye-catching phrases, but still …

It looks as if the incoming CEO has a mountain to climb in terms of exec hires and sales coverage. The software technology looks good but Diamanti is facing competition from NetApp Astra, Dell EMC, HPE Ezmeral, Pure-Portworx, not to mention SmartX, SUSE Rancher, MayaData’s OpenEBS, StorageOS and many others. Diamanti’s employees need to pull together with a coherent and inspiring set of execs. Making that happen before competitors walk away with the market, is Hickey’s task. The eight exec leavers listed don’t think he can do it.