Rackspace announced the appointment of technology industry veteran Joe Eazor as the new CEO of Rackspace on Wednesday, replacing Taylor Rhodes who resigned last week. Rackspace President Jeff Cotten is serving as interim CEO until Eazor steps into the role June 12.
As CEO, Eazor will be responsible for the San Antonio-based company’s global strategy and operations, spanning the U.S. and the three other continents where Rackspace maintains offices and data centers.
“Joe has had a long and successful career growing IT services businesses,” stated David Sambur, senior partner at Apollo Global Management and chairman of the Rackspace board of directors in a news release.
“He has a proven reputation for driving investment and allocation of resources to the areas that will generate the best returns. Joe has led large and complex organizations. And he will be a good fit as CEO for Rackspace, a company whose culture is a unique asset that has produced industry leading Net Promoter Scores and low customer churn.”
Eazor, 54, comes to Rackspace from EarthLink, where he was CEO of the dial-up Internet service that he led into cloud networking. In 2016, Forbes named Earthlink one of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America. In February, Eazor led the sale of the company to Windstream for $1.1 billion, delivering significant returns to shareholders during his three years as CEO.
Late last year, New York-based private equity firm Apollo acquired Rackspace for $4.3 billion. Stockholders cashed out at $32 per share, a 38% premium. Since then, Rackspace has experienced changes at the top as well as significant employee layoffs in early February.
“As soon as the call came about Rackspace, I knew that was where I wanted to go,” Eazor said. “I know the company. I’ve visited the headquarters and felt the spirit there, and watched Rackers at work. I admire Rackspace’s well-earned reputation for expertise and Fanatical Support — and for a workplace culture that makes that great support possible.
“My goal here is to build on that foundation and make us the world’s preeminent IT-services company,” he said.
Before leading EarthLink, Eazor served as a top executive at EMC Corporation, Hewlett-Packard Company and Electronic Data Systems Corporation. After HP’s acquisition of EDS, Eazor was responsible for integrating that $22 billion business into its new parent. Prior to the acquisition by HP, he led EDS’s Asia Pacific business and offshoring operations while living in Shanghai, China. Earlier in his career, he worked with private equity investors as CEO of an internet portal services startup called Springbow Solutions.
Eazor holds a bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from the Colorado School of Mines and an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Born in Oklahoma and raised there and in Dallas, he and his family have lived in the Dallas area for the last 25 years.
“All of us feel that Joe will be a great culture fit, as well as a very effective CEO,” said Cotton, who knew Eazor when they both worked at EDS nearly a decade ago. “Joe brings deep IT services experience, and strong leadership qualities. I look forward to working with him.”
In a blog post published Wednesday Eazor stated: “As a private company, we can move more aggressively and rapidly to allocate resources for long-term growth, to enhance our product offerings, to expand into new geographies, and make smart acquisitions.
“We’ll have some big news on that last front very soon, so please stay tuned!” he wrote.
Since its acquisition by Apollo, Rackspace has gained the opportunity to plan for the company’s growth in a post-Amazon market. Rackspace recently signed an agreement to become the first managed services support partner for the Google Cloud Platform and opened a data center in Germany.
Former Rackspace CEO Rhodes this week joined SMS Assist LLC, a Chicago-based startup, as CEO. SMS Assist is a provider of cloud-based property management software. SMS Assist raised $150 million last year from Goldman Sachs and has annual revenue of $500 million, according to Crain’s Chicago Business.