Rackspace names third CEO in two years

Kevin Jones, who has experience in both transportation and enterprise technology, replaces Joe Eazor, who didn't last long.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

April 25, 2019

3 Min Read
Rackspace names third CEO in two years

Managed cloud services company Rackspace has named its third CEO in two years, tapping Kevin Jones as the new boss.

If you haven't heard of Jones, don't feel bad. He hasn't come from the telco or cloud networking industry; he was most recently CEO of MV Transportation. But Jones isn't a technology newbie; he previously worked at DXC Technology, an IT solution provider, as well as Hewlett Packard Enterprise and its predecessor, Hewlett Packard, Dell and Electronic Data Systems.

Jones succeeds Joe Eazor, who sat in the big chair for just shy of two years.

Jones has an "outstanding track record of leading and transforming businesses by inspiring organizations to increase revenue, profitability, market share, customer satisfaction and employee engagement," according to a statement from David Sambur, Rackspace board chairman and senior partner at Apollo Global Management, which led a $4.3 billion deal to take Rackspace private in 2016.

Sambur also thanked Eazor for guiding Rackspace through three acquisitions -- TriCore, Datapipe and RelationEdge -- and building a leadership team and setting strategic direction.

Figure 1: Rackspace, 2013. Photo by Garrett Heath, (CC BY 2.0) Rackspace, 2013. Photo by Garrett Heath, (CC BY 2.0)

"Joe also has instilled financial and operational disciplines that will help the company scale into the future," Sambur says. "The Company is financially stronger than ever and on track in achieving its near and long-term goals," Sambur says.

And what is that new strategy? Sambur says Rackspace helps companies transform by leveraging the latest cloud technologies and environments.

MV Transportation, which Jones previously headed, is the largest privately owned transportation contracting firm in the US, with more than 20,000 transit professionals in 153 locations across North America, Rackspace says. Jones led a successful turnaround of the 44-year-old business, hitting record revenue and second-highest-ever profit performance, improving sales performance, creating partnerships with Uber and other companies, and improved employee engagement and reduced turnover.

Rackspace declined to comment about why Eazor has been replaced.

Eazor was named CEO of Rackspace in May 2017. He had previously been president and CEO of Earthlink. Prior to Eazor's appointment, longtime CEO Taylor Rhodes left to join a startup.

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Rackspace started life in 1998 providing enterprise hosting services, and the public cloud grew up around it. Rackspace also played a role in cloud history, as one of the founders of OpenStack. In recent years, Rackspace has had to up its game as hypercloud providers, particularly Amazon and Microsoft, have dominated that market; Rackspace is now like a mouse at an elephant disco. If Sambur isn't completely blowing smoke, Rackspace has found a way to succeed by providing enterprises with professional experiences making transition to the multicloud, both from a technology and business perspective.

I heard from Rackspace earlier this year when they were keen to talk about a new strategic direction: I then engaged in a slow-motion dance to set up an appointment with Eazor, and a 1 p.m. chat on May 13 was finally agreed by his office.

That calendar slot is now free for me -- anybody want to grab lunch?

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About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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