Musical Chairs: Acronis gets Maritzed

Cyber data protector Acronis has appointed ex-VMware CEO Paul Maritz to chair its board, replacing René Bonvanie who had been Chairman since February 2014.

Serguei (SB) Belousssov founded Acronis in 2003 and is now its Chief Research Officer and an executive board member. He gave up the CEO role in July this year, having been CEO since May 2013 and also Chairman before Bonvanie. Patrick Pulvermüller was appointed CEO in July. He was hired two months after a $250 million funding round, only the third in Acronis’ history, valuing the company at $2.5 billion. At that time it said it was focussing on growing its managed service providers (MSPs) network, which has more than 12,000 members.

A quote from Pulvermüller said: “Paul brings a wealth of experience developing products to meet market demands and take companies to the next level. His … experience with innovations at scale will help us to continue delivering easy, efficient, and secure cyber protection to service providers and their customers of any size.”

Paul Maritz.

Acronis has made four significant moves since the start of May. First Maritz joined the board and there was the funding round. Then Pulvermüller gets the CEO spot, and now Maritz becomes Chairman. It looks like a plan in action.

Maritz’s history includes a stint as an SVP at Microsoft, co-founding and being CRO of Pi Corp, acquired by EMC in 2008, with Maritz then being appointed to run VMware. He was replaced by Pat Gelsinger in 2012 and then became CEO of GoPivotal, founded by GE, EMC and VMware. Maritz left the CEO role in 2015 but has been Chairman since April 2013.

Acronis said this about Maritz’s role: “Maritz will be responsible for the governance and leadership of Acronis as it strengthens its position in the service provider market preparing for significant growth in the future.” 

It reckons the challenge of providing MSPs with effective tools to manage the environments of their customers is becoming increasingly complex — particularly in a world where security is becoming an overwhelming issue. The MSP needs to provide integrated and automated cyber protection, covering what Acronis calls SAPAS: safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security. MSPs can do this better than individual businesses in Acronis’s view 

A Maritz statement mentioned cyber-protection and said: “Acronis Cyber Protect is a great example of what can be done. Acronis will continue extensive research and development in this direction, helping partners optimise their operations and stay ahead of the competition.”

There are some half-million Acronis business customers and more than 5.5 million consumer customers. The privately-owned firm has over 1,700 employees with offices in 34 locations across 19 countries. There are 38,000 non-MSP channel partners. The firm says it is preparing for significant growth and will “continue to make acquisitions to become one of the world’s major players of providing the most innovative backup, security, and management tools on the market.

We think Acronis is gearing up to become a much more significant supplier of cyber-protection services to businesses and that an IPO lies ahead. How else will the VCs get a return on their investment? A man like Maritz at the helm, with his business track record, will give confidence to potential investors if and when an IPO takes place.