I don’t mind telling you that when I was named interim CEO of Rackspace a few weeks ago, I was hoping that I would be able to shed the first word of that title and serve as the long-term chief executive at the company that I love. But my attitude was that if our board of directors could find someone better — someone with more relevant experience; someone I could learn from and collaborate with, I would be all for it. And that’s exactly what the board has done.
Our new CEO, Joe Eazor, is one of the most seasoned and effective executives in the entire technology industry. He and I worked together at EDS nearly a decade ago, and I’ve followed his rise ever since. He has deep experience running everything from startups to huge divisions of IT enterprises. He is an inspiring leader with a strong track record of delivering value to customers, employees and investors. We’re fortunate to have him. And I’m excited that he and the board have asked me to continue to serve as president, to help Joe build Rackspace into the world’s preeminent IT service company.
Until three months ago, Joe served as CEO of EarthLink, a pioneer of dial-up Internet service that he led into profitable new areas of cloud networking. In February, he led the sale of the company to Windstream for $1.1 billion.
Joe joined EarthLink in 2014 and transformed its strategy, investing in profitable new products and exceptional customer service. He doubled free cash flow, and his sale of the company delivered a significant return to shareholders. He sharply lifted employee culture scores and achieved a 79% CEO approval rating on Glassdoor. Forbes last year named EarthLink one of the 100 Most Trustworthy Companies in America.
Before leading EarthLink, Joe served as a top executive at EMC, HP, and EDS. His roles gave him leadership experience across strategy, customer support, product development, global sales and marketing, M&A, and business process outsourcing. He also knows international operations from his stints in Shanghai and Singapore.
Following HP’s acquisition of EDS, Joe was responsible for integrating that $22-billion business into its new parent.
After selling EarthLink, Joe got attractive offers to lead other companies, including one larger than ours. “But as soon as the call came about Rackspace,” he says, “I knew that was where I wanted to go.”
Joe has followed Rackspace from our early years right through our strategy shift in 2015, to emphasize managed cloud services. He’ll tell you what he thinks about our company and its prospects in his own post on this blog.
In the meantime, here’s what David Sambur, senior partner at Apollo Global Management and head of our board of directors, has to say about Joe: “He has had a long and successful career growing IT services businesses. He has a proven reputation for driving 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, whose culture is a unique asset that has produced industry-leading Net Promoter Scores and low customer churn.”
Joe was born 54 years ago in Duncan, Okla. He grew up there and in Dallas. His dad was a Lebanese immigrant who worked as a commercial artist, hand-painting banners for stores and ads in the days before computer graphics, and blowing colorful glass pipes for neon signs. His mother worked for the phone company, supervising new-service installations.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering at the Colorado School of Mines and his MBA at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. Today, he lends financial and mentoring support to both of those educational institutions, as well as to the Presbyterian church. Joe and his family have lived in the Dallas area off and on for the past 25 years.
Along with his brother, Joe owns Backcountry Brewery, a craft beer maker in the ski town of Frisco, Colo. Joe has competed in four Ironman triathlons. Best time: about 12 hours. Between competitions, he stays in shape with daily swims and long weekend runs and bike rides. He’s pleased to hear about the Mission Reach and all the great biking roads in the Hill Country. If you have a favorite circuit, please give him a shout. And please join us in welcoming Joe to Rackspace.