An announcement before the holidays captured my attention: Red Hat named Jim Whitehurst, formerly COO of Delta Airlines, as its new CEO. Maybe too hastily, I had a flashback to John Sculley’s disastrous tenure at Apple.
Whitehurst did some great things in pulling Delta out of bankruptcy and infusing employees with much-needed company spirit. He is more than casually knowledgeable about open source and has definitely turned around opinions of people who’ve spoken to him.
But even if he is a self-proclaimed geek, does he have the background to succeed at Red Hat? Are the company’s challenges in the near future operational or market- and technology-oriented? Do software companies need leaders who have a software background?
I’d like to hear opinions from the source — people in the business of software.