SkyView Taps New CEO to Ride the Compliance Wave
January 11, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Carol Woodbury, the former chief security architect of the OS/400 operating system and co-founder of SkyView Partners, and John Vanderwall, co-founder of SkyView and up until now its chief executive officer, have brought in some outside help to grow the company as it chases the burgeoning opportunity for security and compliance tools and services both inside the Power Systems i market and outside of it.
As 2009 was unwinding, SkyView announced that Tom Coccione, who has 22 years of experience in the IT racket, including with 13 years of selling midrange gear at IBM, has been tapped to be SkyView’s new chief executive officer. (In fact, the privately held company appointed Coccione back in October 2009, but didn’t say anything about it until now.) In the wake of Coccione’s appointment to the CEO position, Woodbury continues in her roles as president and chief technology officer, while Vanderwall becomes chairman of the board and chief operating officer.
Both Woodbury and Vanderwall worked together at PowerTech (acquired by Help/Systems in August 2008) after the former left IBM and the latter left emulation software maker WRQ (which merged with Attachmate in April 2005). Ironically, Coccione revealed in an interview with The Four Hundred that he was vice president of sales and marketing at WRQ’s competitor, Wall Data, basically competing against Vanderwall for sales in the terminal emulation space. (Of course, the waves of consolidation in the IBM midrange that started during the last recession–meaning the one in 1999–compelled NetManage to buy Wall Data in 2000, and Rocket Software tried to buy NetManage in early 2008 and failed, but was snapped up by Micro Focus a few months later.)
Before all that, Coccione was a branch sales manager selling IBM midrange gear in the Seattle, Washington, office (where a lot of hardware and software companies gravitated over the years), and eventually had AS/400 sales positions up and down the west coast before joining Wall Data in 1997. Coccione also served as vice president of sales and marketing for Advanced Businesslink, which created its own middleware to put the AS/400 on the Web, from 2006 through 2007. Throughout his career and between these jobs, SkyView’s new CEO has been the CEO at three startups and was responsible for getting them private capital and fueling their growth to the point that a larger company acquired these firms.
“We’ve just finished a tremendous year in 2009, setting sales records in the face of daunting economic conditions,” explained Woodbury in a statement announcing Coccione’s appointment. “Adding Tom will put more emphasis on sales and free John up to guide the strategic direction of our company over the coming years.”
Being privately held, SkyView doesn’t give out a lot of details about itself in terms of revenues or employee headcount, but Coccione said that SkyView has a “sizeable” customer base and peddles its security and compliance wares both directly and through channel partners. But Coccione is a sporting type, and said that this was the eighth year of revenue growth and profitability for SkyView, and that sales were up 13 percent in 2009. “That’s just amazing when you look at last year,” Coccione said, adding that 90 percent of the customer base was still doing security administration and compliance management manually, meaning there is plenty of room to grow. “Ten years ago, you would have never even heard of a chief compliance officer. This market is emerging, and SkyView is in a very good place.”
Still, Coccione has a full plate along with a mandate just about every CEO will recognize. “The mandate is to scale the business, to grow channels domestically and internationally, and to penetrate the market,” he explains. “We have been listening to our customers, and from this we know there are some opportunities for new products. So we plan to expand our product line and we plan to exceed 20 percent revenue growth this year.”
Power Systems i shops have a mix of platforms, and the IT market consists of shops that don’t have i boxes, and SkyView knows this. “Right now, our focus is on IBM I, but we are looking at other platforms,” says Coccione.
SkyView is not saying anything more about its plans at this time, but we’ll keep you posted.