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Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – NetApp (Nasdaq: NTAP) stunned analysts and company followers Wednesday when it announced that longtime Chief Executive Officer Daniel Warmenhoven was stepping down.

He was replaced immediately by President Thomas Georgens.

Warmenhoven, a longtime IBM executive who once lived in North Raleigh, remains chairman of the board and will take on a new position – as an executive in charge of developing NetApp partnerships. In that role, he will report to Georgens.

NetApp employs some 700 people at its campus in RTP and is based in California.

In a conference call to discuss NetApp earnings and the executive changes, Warmenhoven reflected on his career looking back and going forward. , as provided by SeekingAlpha:

“I would like to invite everyone on the call to join me in congratulating Thomas Georgens for being appointed CEO of NetApp. Over the past four years Tom has demonstrated tremendous leadership, strategic thinking and operational ability especially during the challenging environment this past year. He has earned the respect of our employees, our customers, our shareholders and the board of directors and I am confident Tom is the right person to lead NetApp into the future.

“My 15 year tenure as NetApp’s CEO has been an incredibly rewarding journey but nothing lasts forever. I have had a long time personal goal to transition out of the CEO role by the time I turned 60 which is only about five quarters from now. This felt like an appropriate time to make the transition. The economy appears to have stabilized and it feels like we are sailing on somewhat calmer seas. It is always better to implement a transition during a time of relative tranquility. NetApp is also on the cusp of a new era, an era characterized by cloud computing and infrastructure service providers which will change the nature of our business. …

“It seems wise to make the CEO change at the beginning of an era rather than in the middle to maximize continuity and minimize disruption and Tom is absolutely the right person to succeed me. He is ready to step into the CEO role to lead NetApp in this new era. Tom has demonstrated outstanding strategic leadership regarding the best way for NetApp to capitalize on the cloud opportunity. …

“As you probably saw in the press release while I am stepping down from the CEO position I will continue with NetApp in two distinct roles. First, I will continue as Chairman of the Board of Directors. In addition I will also take on an Executive role in the company to help build and expand relationships with certain key strategic partners. In this newly created position I will report to Tom as a member of the executive management team. I would like to thank everyone for their support and loyalty over the years. I am looking forward to the next stage of NetApp’s evolution under the direction of our new leader.”

(Note: Transcript is reprinted with permission of SeekingAlpha. The remarks were slightly shortened to meet reprint requirements.)