Red Hat CEO Stepping Down

Red Hat, Inc. — the company behind the popular Red Hat family of Linux distributions — announced today that President and CEO Matthew Szulik will step down from those roles effective January 1st, 2008.

Szulik has been the Chief Executive of Red Hat since November 1999, when he succeeded founder Bob Young. The announcement of his departure came as a great surprise to much of the Open Source community, as there had been no speculation about a change in the organization. Szulik cites family health problems as the reason for his departure — according to reports, sources close to the organization have acknowledged that his wife is seriously ill. Szulik will retain his long-held position as Chairman of Red Hat's board of directors.

Former Delta Airlines COO James Whitehurst has been tapped to take over as Chief Executive, a choice Red Hat describes as "a talented executive who has successfully led a global technology-focused organization." Others have been quick to question the decision, pointing to the strategic differences between leading an Open Source software company and an old-order airline.

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Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

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