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Doug Levin stepping down as head of Black DuckJay Lyman, August 15, 2008 @ 3:04 pm ET
Black Duck CEO Doug Levin, who started the software IP scanning company turned software development scanning, search and analysis suite player five and a half years ago, is stepping down as the company’s chief. Levin will continue to serve on the board of directors and will play an advisory role for Black Duck’s new Office of the Presidency (to be run by Exec. VP of Products and Services Bill McQuaide and CFO Ken Goldman). Still, as of September 1, the man who single-handedly started Black Duck and arguably a new segment of software analysis and development is leaving the pond.
Levin says the move has been in the works since early this year and comes as Black Duck sits comfortably in terms of paying customers (600), healthy enterprise bookings and a record Q2 (although actual figures are not disclosed). Still, Levin, who points out he is still the largest shareholder in the company, is so confident for Black Duck’s prospects he says the new CEO candidate will ideally have some IPO experience. Levin says the IPO market would have to turn around for such as thing to happen in the next year or so. He also indicated the ideal Black Duck CEO candidate would have a performance and execution focus, but also bring a new perspective to the table. It would also be someone with experience in the software industry, perhaps specifically open source, but not necessarily, according to Levin.
This marks a continuation of executive transitions from open source companies that have matured beyond the startups, fringe players and mavericks they began as. Late last year, Jim Whitehurst came in to head Red Hat as a more traditional industry executive from Delta Airlines (albeit with a knack and hankering for Linux, particularly Fedora). Whitehurst replaced one of open source’s most well-known CEOs Matthew Szulik. More recently, EnterpriseDB CEO Andy Astor stepped down, carrying on in a different role but, similarly to Levin, leaving leadership of the company to someone else (for EnterpriseDB, new CEO Ed Boyajian, a former Red Hat executive).
The executive changes and the inclusion of broader industry talent and experience are yet more evidence of open source maturity and enterprise acceptance. They also represent some of the growing pains of open source startups, which build up enterprise use and business, but often need help getting up to the next enterprise and revenue level.
For his part, Levin sees proprietary software not being displaced by open source, but vendors being forced to evolve and, in the process, accept and embrace open source more themselves. As for open source companies, they are increasingly opting for dual-license and subscription strategies that rely on commercial licensing. Levin says open source is still very significant and now represents a checkbox item not only for companies interested in supporting or developing software, but deeply and broadly in enterprise IT beyond the LAMP stack to a host of open source components. Along those lines, Levin says he is not sure what his next move will be, but whatever it is, it will have something to do with open source.
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