Under former Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik's guidance, Red Hat assembled an interesting array of professionals on its board of directors. Last week, current Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst demonstrated that this flair for assembling outside talent continues under his watch with the announcement of two new board members, Micheline Chau, President and COO of Lucasfilm Ltd., and Jeff Clarke, President and CEO of Travelport, Inc.
With Chau Red Hat gains insight into the churning entertainment industry, while Clarke gives Red Hat a glimpse into the travel industry, as well as traditional enterprise software, given his former role as COO of Computer Associates. It's a nice combination, and a great addition to Red Hat's existing board. In addition to Matthew Szulik (Chairman) and Jim Whitehurst (CEO and former COO of Delta Air Lines), the board includes:
- Bill Kaiser, partner at Greylock Partners, a leading venture firm and early investor in Red Hat. Kaiser has made some excellent investments, including Constant Contact and Spyglass;
- General Hugh Shelton, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and counsel to the United States President;
- Marye Ann Fox, an acclaimed chemist who serves on the National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Science and Engineering Public Policy;
- Steve Albrecht, professor of business at Brigham Young University, and father of one of my good high-school friends;
- Naren Gupta, co-founder of embedded software leader Integrated Systems Inc.
In a conversation last week with board member Bill Kaiser, he indicated that Red Hat's board had been a bit too light in numbers to effectively farm work out to committees, among other things. The "numbers" problem has now been resolved, and the board experience asset has been augmented.
This is a great group of people with divergent interests and skill-sets, one particularly well-suited to help Red Hat "think different" about the software business.