Making a transition like this is never easy, but Hicks has Cormier, his lifelong mentor, to lean on as he takes the Red Hat cleansed. In his new role, Hicks has to walk the line between assuring customers and employees that there will be stability in the company’s leadership while moving forward and putting his own brand on things.
For the most part, Hicks said he will continue the same way as cormier. IBM has allowed Red Hat to be independent mostly from buying it for $34 billion in 2018. IBM sells Red Hat services to leverage its sales clout, but Red Hat has remained independent, with many partners besides IBM.
As Cormier told me about his relationship with IBM CEO Arvind Krishna in a may interview: “Arvind’s way of characterizing Red Hat is that IBM will have opinions about Red Hat, but it can’t work the other way around. What that means is that IBM has completely standardized on Red Hat as the [company’s] hybrid platform,” Cormier said.
Under Cormier, Red Hat helped IBM return to growth after a long period of stagnation. Big Blue revenue increased 9% in your most recent earnings report last month. Red Hat grew 12% and has greatly contributed to IBM’s growth strategy
It’s up to Hicks to keep that going as he takes Red Hat wherever it goes next. I spoke with him recently about transitioning into his new role and what it means for all parties involved, from clients and employees to parent company IBM.