Rocket Software Names New CEO
October 6, 2021 Alex Woodie
Rocket Software yesterday announced that Milan Shetti, currently the company’s president and a former Hewlett-Packard vice president, next month will take over the CEO position from Andy Youniss, who will step back from day-to-day operations but will remain with the company he co-founded more than 30 years ago.
Youniss co-founded Rocket Software in 1990 in the garage of his home near Boston, Massachusetts with a plan to develop and sell tools for IBM’s DB2 database, as it was then called (it only recently was renamed Db2, with the lowercase “b”). Its first product was a resource monitor for IBM’s Query Management Facility, dubbed Rocket/QMF. It formed a partnership with Big Blue in 1994, and the two have been doing business together ever since.
In 2000, Youniss completed the first of what would become dozens of acquisitions when he bought SystemSoft, a software developer that was located in the same building as Rocket. He followed that up in 2005 with the acquisition of ServerGraph, a Texas-based developer of a reporting and analysis software for backups.
Rocket made the first of a handful of acquisitions in the IBM i space in 2006 when it spent about $56 million to acquire Seagull Software, which developed GUI modernization and Web services tools for IBM i and mainframe platforms. It followed that up 2011 with the acquisition of Aldon, a developer of change management software for IBM i and open systems. In 2012, the company acquired the iCluster business from IBM, which had acquired DataMirror and its IBM i-based high availability software in 2007.
All told, the privately held company has completed more than 45 acquisitions over the years, enabling the company to grow to 2,500 employees, or “Rocketeers” as the company likes to call them, spread across 23 global locations. In 2018, Youniss sold a big chunk of the company to Bain Capital Private Equity in a $2-billion deal, following rumors that the company was soliciting offers.
Shetti joined Rocket in April 2020 and led the company’s Z Systems business unit, one of three units at the company. Earlier this year, he was named president of the whole company, and put in charge of overseeing all of the products in the company’s portfolio. Two other individuals are presidents of Rocket business units, including Chris Wey, who heads up the Power Systems unit, and P. Gary Gregory, who heads up the Database and Connectivity unit.
Shetti, who has a PhD in computer science from the University of Minnesota, began his IT career in 2000 as a software developer at Sun Microsystems. In 2006, he joined IBRIX, a Boston-area developer of software-defined storage solutions. He was IBRIX’s CEO when it was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in 2009. Shetti enjoyed a nearly 11-year career at HP, where he was eventually named the senior vice president and general manager of HP’s storage and big data business unit.
Shetti will become CEO on November 5, at which point Youniss will become the company’s executive chairman; he will also hold a seat on the company’s board of directors.
“Milan is the right leader for this moment in Rocket’s history and for its future,” Youniss said in a press release. “I have the utmost confidence that under his leadership, Rocket will continue to put our customers and partners first, deliver innovation and quality that matters, and enable even more legendary outcomes.”
Shetti has the backing of Bain, which owns a majority stake in the company. “Milan is an established technology leader with deep background in infrastructure management solutions,” stated Bain Managing Director Max de Groen (also a Rocket director) in a press release. “We are confident his skills and experience will enable Rocket to continue to advance its mission-critical portfolio of enterprise software solutions while furthering the commitment to its customers, employees and business partners.”
For his part, Shetti says he is impressed with the culture that Youniss has built at Rocket, and how that culture impacts the technology.
“The connection Andy created between Rocket’s core values and the way we serve our customers and partners is what excites me most about leading Rocket in this next era, as we continue to accelerate the modernization of mission-critical systems and solve our customers’ and partners’ most pressing, highly technical challenges,” Shetti said in a press release.
Hopefully IT Jungle can get on Shetti’s schedule in the weeks or months to come and ask him what this transition means for Rocket’s many IBM i customers.