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The revelation that Tibco will have a new CEO once its merger with Citrix is complete came as a surprise to some, but the change in leadership will likely not have a significant impact on the analytics vendor's platform development or its customers.
Tibco, founded in 1997 and based in Palo Alto, Calif., is a subsidiary of Vista Equity Partners and Evergreen Coast Capital Corp.
In January 2022, Vista and Evergreen reached an agreement to acquire Citrix, a digital workspace technology vendor founded in 1989 and based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., with the acquisition expected to close during the third quarter of this year.
Once completed, Vista and Evergreen plan to merge Citrix and Tibco to create a single company that will join Citrix's digital workspace and application delivery platform with Tibco's analytics and data management capabilities.
On Monday, Vista revealed that rather than appoint Tibco CEO Dan Streetman or Citrix chairman and interim president and CEO Bob Calderoni to lead the combined entity, it will instead bring in Tom Krause as the new CEO.
Krause was promoted to president of semiconductor giant Broadcom in 2020 and helped oversee Broadcom's recent $61 billion acquisition of VMWare. Before that, he was Broadcom's chief financial officer for four years. Streetman and Calderoni will remain in their roles until Tibco and Citrix are combined.
A surprising, but rational, move
The move to bring in Krause was somewhat surprising but makes sense given the current economic climate, according to Doug Henschen, an analyst at Constellation Research.
He noted that Krause has a financial background, while Streetman was a sales leader before ascending to CEO and Citrix currently has an interim leader. And with the sharp declines in the stock market in 2022 and fears of a recession, the appointment of Krause indicates that Vista is placing an emphasis on the monetary health of Tibco and Citrix.
"We've just had a major shakeout in the financial markets and Vista appears to be more concerned about financial management at this time," Henschen said.
While Streetman won't be Tibco's CEO once the merger with Citrix is complete, the analytics vendor will still have its product and development leaders in place, which suggests stability for current Tibco customers, he added.
Tibco offers three separate analytics platforms, with Spotfire enabling deep data exploration, streaming analytics and data science; WebFocus specializing in scalable reporting that allows thousands of users to view and work with the same data; and JasperSoft designed for developers to enable them to embed BI within applications.
The analytics tools help make up Tibco's "predict" portfolio. In addition, the vendor has a "connect" portfolio that includes its cloud capabilities and a "unify" portfolio that addresses data management.
Meanwhile, despite the pending change at the top, Nelson Petracek remains Tibco's chief technology officer and Matt Quinn is still its chief operating officer. And at the product level, Mark Palmer is its senior vice president of analytics, data science and data products.
"Reports to the CEO at each brand unit can steer software direction," Henschen said.
In fact, the day after it was revealed that Streetman will eventually depart Tibco and Krause will become its new CEO, the vendor released ModelOps, an anticipated tool first unveiled in preview more than a year ago that will enable organizations to quickly deploy data science models at scale.
While Henschen expressed some surprise at the move to appoint a new leader of Tibco once it merges with Citrix, David Menninger, an analyst at Ventana Research, noted that acquisitions often lead to changes in leadership.
And though Tibco wasn't technically acquired in Vista and Evergreen's deal to buy Citrix, its merger with Citrix will result in a changed company. Citrix, meanwhile, is indeed getting a new owner.
"I'm never surprised when a change of ownership results in a change in leadership," Menninger said. "The acquirer usually often believes there is some untapped opportunity in the organization they are acquiring which the existing leadership did not recognize."
Donald FarmerFounder and principal, TreeHive Strategy
Similarly, Donald Farmer, founder and principal at TreeHive Strategy, said it's not a shock that Vista and Evergreen plan to put a new CEO in place once Tibco and Citrix have been joined, noting that neither Tibco nor Citrix is acquiring the other in the same way Tibco bought IBI in 2020, so it makes sense that neither company's leader will be CEO.
"I'm not surprised there is a new CEO," he said. "It makes sense to drive a new direction for the unified company. This is, after all, not a takeover by one of the other, but more like a real merger."
A confounding combination
While a new CEO is set to take over once Tibco and Citrix join forces, it remains to be seen whether the two companies are a good fit.
The vendors' technologies do not have an obvious synergy, though at the time Vista and Evergreen's acquisition of Citrix was first revealed, Tibco's Streetman said the changing nature of the workforce with many more people working from home than just a few years ago served as part of the motivation for the move.
"I don't really see the synergies between Tibco and Citrix," Menninger said. "Obviously, both are software companies, but there is not a lot of overlap between Tibco's data and analytics capabilities and Citrix's digital workspace technology."
At the time the acquisition and resulting merger of Tibco and Citrix was first revealed, Henschen speculated that perhaps the greatest benefit to Tibco will be exposure to Citrix's customer base of more than 400,000.
However, six months later Henschen noted that the reasons for the merger still aren't clear.
"I'm still puzzling over the combination a bit and haven't seen synergistic messaging and positioning," he said. "The Tibco and Citrix sites are still displaying the messaging and positioning that was in place before the acquisition. We'll see if things change quickly in the wake of Krause's appointment."
Farmer, meanwhile, said he is a bit more bullish on the merger given how many more people work remotely than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
By combining Tibco and Citrix, the new company has the potential to deliver enterprise infrastructure capabilities to organizations with remote employees while also providing high-level analytics capabilities.
"This shift [to remote work] represents a challenge to any company delivering enterprise infrastructure," Farmer said. "There should be significant opportunities for the new company to deliver the entire hybrid work experience from the networking experience to the real-time data and analytics experience."
He cautioned, however, that a merger between companies the size of Tibco and Citrix could be complex, and if it proves unwieldy could hurt Tibco's product development pipeline.
"The merger could be complicated, messy and a drag on innovation," Farmer said. "If it plays out that way, this will be an opportunity lost, because the market is moving very quickly toward new working practices and new infrastructure to support it. Tom Krause has his work cut out to make this both effective and efficient."