Nine months and counting.
Electronic-signature software pioneer Docusign has been operating with lame-duck CEO Keith Krach at the helm for nine months now—last October he announced plans to resign after his successor was named. The company was ready to name his replacement late March, but that person backed out at the last minute—so late, that many journalists (including yours truly) found out simply because we had already been scheduled for interviews with the new leader, which were abruptly cancelled.
Docusign never revealed that person’s name, saying only that “another company with unlimited resources approached him with an offer.” Now it appears that person was Rick Osterloh, the former Motorola Mobility executive who instead took a post in April leading the hardware division of Google’s parent company, Alphabet’s, reports Bloomberg.
Three months later, the electronic signature and document management software pioneer is still looking, although the list of candidates is far shorter, with former Symantec CEO Enrique Salem among them, according to the report.
Salem’s experience running a multi-billion-dollar business software company is certainly a plus. He’s also well familiar with Docusign’s books—not only is he a Docusign board member, but as managing director of Bain Capital Ventures Salem led a $233 million investment in the company in May 2015. That round reportedly boosted the software company’s private valuation to more than $3 billion. At Bain, Salem has been behind some big software mergers in recent months including forensics software company Mandiant’s sale to cybersecurity firm FireEye in January and web security software startup Blue Coat Systems’ buyout by Symantec earlier this month.
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CEO searches typically take a few months. The uncertain market for initial public offerings has probably been one factor in the delay, although cloud communications software company’s Twilio’s successful offering last week could encourage other tech “unicorns” with valuations of more than $1 billion to move forward.
There are signs of internal frustration with the delay—Docusign co-founder Tom Gonser resigned his position as strategy chief in early February (he remains on the board). Several other top executives have also headed for the exit. Krach, who assumed the CEO role in 2011, isn’t leaving outright. He’ll move into the role of executive chairman when his replacement is found.
Whether Docusign has an IPO—or a potential sale—in mind, it’s definitely in the company’s interest to make a decision quickly. Bloomberg’s report suggests that a decision could come as early as next month.
Docusign had no immediate comment.