As the market closed this afternoon ahead of its earnings report, New Relic, an application performance monitoring company, announced that founder Lew Cirne would step down as CEO and take on the role of executive chairman.
At the same time, the company announced that Bill Staples, a software industry veterinarian, will take over as CEO. Staples joined the company last year as chief product officer before being quickly promoted to president and chief product officer in January. Today’s promotion marks a rapid rise in the ranks to lead the company.
Cirne said that when he first started thinking about taking on that role as executive chairman, he was looking for a trusted partner to take his place as CEO, and he found him at Staples. “The dream of every founder is for the company to have a lasting impact, and then when the time comes for them to play a different role. To do this, you need a trusted partner who will lead with the right core values and bring to the table what the business needs as an active partner. And so I’m really excited to step up to the role of Executive Chairman [and to have Bill be that person]Cirne told me.
For Staples, who has worked in large organizations throughout his career, this opportunity to lead the company as CEO is the pinnacle of his long career. He called the promotion humiliating, but thinks he’s ready to take it.
“It’s a new chapter for me, a new experience to be CEO of a public company with a value of over a billion dollars, but I think the experience that I have at the headquarters of our clients, as well as the experience I’ve had at Microsoft and Adobe, very large companies with very high stakes running large organizations really prepared me for this next phase, ”Staples said.
Cirne says he plans to take some time this summer to give Staples the room to grow as a leader of the company without being in the shadow of the longtime founder and CEO, but he plans to come back and work with him as the executive chairman going forward in the fall.
As he moves into this new role, Staples will take over. “Granted, I have a lot to learn about what it takes to be a great CEO, but I’m also confident that I’ve managed large-scale organizations. You know I was part of P&L which was several times bigger than New Relic, and I have no doubts that I can help New Relic grow as a business. “
Hope Cochran, chief executive of Madrona Ventures, who is also chairman of the board of directors of New Relic, said the board fully supports the decision to pass the torch from Cirne CEO to Staples. “With the foundations Lew has built and Bill’s leadership, New Relic has a very bright future and a clear path to accelerate growth as a leader in observability,” she said in a statement.
The official transition is scheduled for July 1.