Say the word WSO2 and immediately a tall figure comes to mind: Dr. Sanjiva Weerawarana. Along with Paul Fremantle and one other individual, the trio founded WSO2 over 12 years ago. Since then, the middleware company has grown and supports the likes of Uber and eBay to carry out their operations. With all this, it was indeed a surprise when we found out that effective from the 11th of September 2017, Dr. Sanjiva stepped down as CEO of WSO2.
Well, the answer to that question is explained in depth in Dr. Sanjiva’s blog post. If you recall, WSO2 developed their own programming language called Ballerina. This is what Dr. Sanjiva has been focusing on for a while now. The good doctor loves working on languages and also enjoys how the power of language creation helps people think. A dream of Dr. Sanjiva is to push Ballerina to the masses and change the way that integrations are done. This is where the new CEO of WSO2 comes into the picture.
Dr. Sanjiva explains that while he is good at the technical aspect of things, marketing and evangelization of Ballerina are not his strong points. This is where Tyler would excel as he not only has these skills, but also has what it takes to push Ballerina and the other projects that WSO2 is working on to the US market. It’s not only about Ballerina, though. He is also working on a number of other large projects which he calls “Rocketships”. He is confident that Tyler would have what it takes to make WSO2 lead the next wave of innovation in middleware.
Dr. Sanjiva explained that, “We are thrilled to have Tyler join us in leading our next phase of growth. His experience as a three-time CEO and success in building enterprise platforms sets him apart as a strategist and leader. And having served as a director on our board, Tyler’s appreciation for our ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to disrupt the middleware market makes this a perfect match.”
Tyler is, by no means a new face to WSO2. He has quite a long history of working together with Dr. Sanjiva. It all started in 2010 when Tyler initially contacted Dr. Sanjiva. At the time, Tyler was Head of Investments at Quest Software. Quest went on to make a $4 Million investment in WSO2. In 2011, Tyler joined the Board of WSO2 shortly afterwards. From there, Quest was acquired by Dell and Tyler went to Oracle as Vice President of Cloud. He was then a part of WSO2’s board amidst all trials and tribulations that the company went through.
In our opinion, Dr. Sanjiva stepping down comes at an ideal time. This is because while WSO2 is a successful company, a founder can take the company only so far. For a company to grow and reach the next stage, it will need a fresh perspective.
We saw this most recently with GitHub when its CEO Chris Wanstrath stepped down. He shared that this was because he felt that a person with an updated outlook is now needed to take the company forward. Chris himself wishes to travel and meet GitHub’s users. In a similar fashion, Dr. Sanjiva stepping down would mean that he would have more time to focus on Ballerina and other projects WSO2 is working on. Meanwhile Tyler would help steer the company towards a new future with his experience running multiple companies.
Dr. Sanjiva, though is not going anywhere. He will remain at WSO2 as its Chief Architect and Chairman of its Board of Directors. While Tyler handles things from his end, Dr. Sanjiva will put all his efforts into nurturing Ballerina along with the rest of the company’s portfolio. With Tyler Jewell as the new CEO and Dr. Sanjiva as its Chief Architect, Paul Fremantle, the second Co-Founder of WSO2 is also back, having completed his PhD in IoT Security. Paul will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer from September 2017.
We look forward for some exciting things from WSO2
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