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Here’s a Hot Business Software Company’s Other Management Change

June 5, 2017, 9:18 PM UTC
Docker logo
Courtesy: Docker

Business software company Docker’s CEO shakeup last month came with another unreported management change.

Marc Verstaen, Docker’s executive vice president of products, also stepped down and Docker founder and chief technology officer Solomon Hykes took over that role, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

Docker is a seven-year old San Francisco company that backs the use of containers (also called Docker) as the best way to build and distribute business software. Since containers have taken the software world by storm, the company is of acute interest to companies of all kinds that need to build and deploy custom software quickly.

Related: Why Containers Are Hot

Early last month, Steve Singh, a former SAP (SAP) exec, replaced Ben Golub as chief executive of Docker. Verstaen left at about the same time.

Reached for comment, Verstaen, who took the Docker product job in March, 2016 to work with Hykes on products, said he left just over a year later to work on a new startup. “I thought it would take more time, but a year into it we both felt we had what we wanted,” he said via email. It made sense to transition as Singh came aboard, he said. Verstaen remains a shareholder in the company.

Prior to taking the product job, Verstaen who was entrepreneur in residence at Docker investor Trinity Ventures, was on the Docker board. He remains a shareholder in the company

Related: Docker and Google Are Uneasy Bedfellows

While Docker containers are popular among developers, even many of those fans can’t figure out how the company can make money. The core container technology, after all, is free open-source code that anyone can use.

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To address that, the company is selling a set of management products and services to make deployment of multiple Docker containers easier, said Dave Bartoletti, analyst with Forrester Research (FOCF). The question of which container management tools to use is a hot topic among Forrester’s corporate clients, he added. But Docker doesn’t have that playing field to itself: In container management and orchestration it competes with CoreOS, Mesosphere, as well the Kubernetes project launched by Google and its allies.

Related: Docker, Number 113 on Fortune’s Unicorn List

Docker watchers wonder if the executive shakeup is a sign that the company is struggling in this attempt. Several sources close to Docker estimate that annual revenue in 2016 was about $10 million. Docker does not disclose revenue, but a spokeswoman said: “this number is lower than our current revenue number.”

Docker has collected nearly $181 million in venture funding.