Bob Young, one of the co-founders at Red Hat, is stepping down from the firm’s board of directors.

Young helped launched the Linux software and services firm in 1993. His smile and gregarious personality were significant reasons the company’s trademark red fedora became one of the more popular corporate symbols in the world of software.

“In a funny way, my resignation is perhaps the finest compliment I can pay to everyone associated with Red Hat today. I have complete confidence in the future of the company,” Young said in a statement.

But Young isn’t completely finished with Red Hat. He still ranks as the sixth largest shareholder of its stock, valued at more than $188 million, according to The News & Observer.

Young remained an executive with Red Hat, stepping aside as chief executive in 1999 after the company went public. Young remained part of the company as a member of the board, including nine years as chairman.

Red Hat (Nasdaq: RHAT) stock topping $151 a share in the “dot com” boon days triggered in part by investors’ fascination with open-source software as an alternative to Windows. Its stock later dropped to under $3 a share in the turmoil of the dot com and high-tech crash.

“Red Hat left me, not the other way around,” Young told Local Tech Wire in 2002 after he stepped down as Red Hat’s chairman. “Once you get to a certain size in business, you need someone who is process oriented to run it, not sales people. As I sat in board meetings seeing I was having less and less impact, I was no longer dumb enough to think I was the guy to run the company.”

He said at the time that he was “a huge fan of Matt Szulik”, his handpicked successor as chief executive. Szulik took over as chairman of Red Hat in April of that year.

Young’s primary focus since 2002 has been, an independent book, music and software publishing company. Young acquired OpenMind, a venture-backed startup, in launching Lulu.

“Bob’s vision for brand relevance in technology was instrumental in the growth and development of Red Hat,” said Szulik in a statement. “We are grateful for his vision and service to help guide our direction as part of the Board of Directors and will miss his wise counsel and insightful views on the direction of technology.”

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