Fidelma Russo leaves VMware GM role

Fidelma Russo, VMware’s SVP and General Manager of its Cloud Services Business Unit, abruptly resigned from the company on 5th September, with some indications that she had also been appointed to the CTO role before leaving.

The news was confirmed by VMware, with a spokesperson telling us: “Fidelma has made a personal decision to leave VMware. We thank her for her contributions.”

Update 13 September: VMware did not deny, or confirm, that Fidelma Russo had been appointed CTO before she left.

Fidelma Russo.

In her SVP and GM roles she had joint responsibility with Mark Lohmeyer for VMware’s Cloud Services. Russo lead engineering, cloud operations, product management, product marketing for the VMware Cloud portfolio of services across Cloud Provider Partners, Local Cloud and the major Public Clouds. We had also heard that Russo was appointed as VMware’s Chief Technology Officer at the beginning of September and quit a few days later. We asked VMware about this yesterday and have been told: “As you are aware, Kit Colbert has been named our Chief Technology Officer.”

We then specifically asked VMware’s communications head whether Russo had been appointed CTO and left while in post, and received this reply: “I have no additional comment.” Make of that what you will.

Kit Colbert was appointed to the VMware CTO role on 8 September. On his appointment VMware CEO Rangarajan (Raghu) Raghuram said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Kit into the position of CTO at VMware. Kit’s passion, proven technological savvy and excellent leadership capabilities will be instrumental in advancing our innovation engine and research and development efforts.”

If Colbert was a second-string replacement for Fidelma Russo, that puts a different complexion on his appointment.

Greg Lavender, VMware’s previous CTO, was in the post from June 2019 until June 2021, leaving to join Intel as its corporate CTO and SVP/GM of its new Software and Advanced Technology Group, working for CEO Pat Gelsinger, VMware’s prior CEO. Gelsinger’s departure to Intel was followed by Raghu Raghuram’s ascension to the CEO spot.

Before being appointed CEO, Raghuram was COO for Products and Cloud Services at VMware, and would have worked with Russo.

Russo has had a stellar career:

  • Digital Equipment Corporation — 1984–1994, Design engineer to Senior Manager Alpha server;
  • Data General — 1995–1999, Group VP Aviion servers and software;
  • Dell EMC — 1999–2002, VP;
  • Sun Microsystems — 2003–2006, SVP and GM network storage and software;
  • HP — 2006–2007, VP Adaptive Infrastructure;
  • Sepaton — 2007–2010, COO;
  • Dell EMC — 2011–2017, SVP and GM enterprise storage and software;
  • Iron Mountain — 2017–2020, CTO and EVP global technology and operations;
  • VMware — 2020–2021, SVP and GM Cloud Services Business Unit.

What reason could there be for her to leave VMware so abruptly, days before a new CTO was appointed?