[Updated 7/25/19, 9:05 pm. Added comments from Carbonite executives.] Carbonite’s Mohamad Ali is stepping down as CEO and board member of the Boston-based data protection company to lead International Data Group, a technology media, events, and research company.
For now, the helm at Carbonite (NASDAQ: CARB) will be taken up by board chairman Steve Munford, who will serve as interim chief executive while the company runs a search for a permanent CEO.
Munford has been a member of the Carbonite board of directors since 2014 and most recently worked as interim CEO at Absolute Software Corporation, a computer and network security company.
In a conference call with analysts digesting the news as well as results from the company’s latest financial quarter, Munford said Ali stepped down voluntarily and it was very much his decision to leave.
Munford said the company will be looking for a new top executive who can steer Carbonite through its next chapter.
“Now that we are a half-billion-dollar company” in revenue “we are starting to be much more of a security as well as an infrastructure company,” he said. Carbonite’s latest financial estimates put it just shy of $500 million in sales for 2019. “We will be looking for someone who has led at scale and has experience in security or infrastructure software. It may be a public company person or someone who has done it at scale for a private company.”
Norman Guadagno, senior vice president of marketing for Carbonite, says the board will be focused on a CEO candidate who can accelerate the company’s integration with Webroot, the endpoint security company it bought in February for $618 million. The deal brought Carbonite squarely into the cybersecurity arena, adding a protection layer for devices while continuing to provide data backup services, which the company has been known for since its early days.
“We want a leader probably not unlike Steve, who is going to be looking at how these things come together,” Guadagno tells Xconomy, though he adds that, at least at this point, Munford has taken his name out of the hat for job. “Steve has made it clear that he is not a candidate for the permanent position.”
Ali (pictured above speaking at a 2018 Xconomy event) says in a press release from Carbonite that “now is the right time to make a transition,” and he is “incredibly proud of all that we have accomplished together.”
“Carbonite has a great team in place,” he adds.
IDG says Ali will take over as CEO on August 1, and he will oversee its worldwide operations from the company’s headquarters in Boston. IDG did respond to a request to speak with Ali about the transition.
IDG chairman Zhiqiang Lu says in a press release that Ali “brings a deep understanding of the latest technologies and the power that data and insights can offer an organization and its customers. IDG has always prided itself on being at the forefront of technology changes, and Mohamad’s expertise will position IDG for continued innovation and growth.”
Ali was brought in as Carbonite’s CEO in 2014, replacing co-founder David Friend. He was previously an executive at IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Hewlett-Packard. He has worked to bolster Carbonite’s business, in part through acquisitions. Deals under his watch included Webroot for $618 million, Mozy for $145 million, and DoubleTake for $65 million.
Ali helped grow Carbonite’s stock price from around $14 per share when he joined in late 2014 to around $24 per share Thursday and a valuation of more than $800 million. As of this writing, the stock price is down more than 16 percent in after-hours trading, following news of Ali’s departure and the company’s lowering of its financial guidance for the year.
Ali has also been one of the more vocal business leaders in Boston, speaking out about issues such as immigration and workforce development.