Seattle’s Virtuozzo, a maker of virtualization products, brought on a new CEO Nov. 1. He’s George Karidis, 48, a cloud-savvy veteran taking on his first top-leadership role, and he sees his initial job as helping the IT world understand Virtuozzo better.
“The focus for me over the next few months is locking in our message,” he said in a recent interview. Enterprise IT has become increasingly complex with the growth of virtualization and the cloud. That has made it tough to clearly and accurately position Virtuozzo’s product, which essentially competes with hypervisors — technology available from numerous companies that allows running multiple software-based representations of servers on a single actual server.
That challenge “is one we have to overcome,” he said. “We have to show why our view of the world is different and why our enterprise accounts have adopted our technology — for the isolation, the security, the ability to control how elements get deployed in a much more seamless way (than with hypervisors).”
Karidis, a Canadian native who moved to the U.S. in 2000, most recently ran the cloud business unit at CompuCom, a Dallas systems integrator and value-added reseller. Before that he headed strategic planning for SoftLayer, a Dallas-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service company that IBM bought in 2013 for about $2 billion. After the purchase, he ran data-center operations as chief operating officer for about a year.
He was drawn to Virtuozzo, he said, because he’d gotten to know its parent company, Parallels IP Holding GmbH, of Schaffhausen, Switzerland, which in December 2015 launched its former Virtuozzo business unit as a standalone company, continuing to own and control it.
“I knew the company pretty well, and we sold its products at CompuCom,” he said. “It’s the right size for me — almost the same size as SoftLayer was when I joined it in 2007, in terms of revenue. I love the space, and I’ve spent a lot of time working with the same clients Virtuozzo has. So it seemed to be a good fit for me.”
Karidis will remain in Dallas, where Virtuozzo is building a presence, in addition to offices in Virginia and Russia and its headquarters in Seattle. In his spare time he enjoys hanging out with his two young sons, loves to cook and enjoys his wine cellar.
The company now has about 150 employees, and though it doesn’t reveal revenue because it’s privately held, it is cash-flow positive, Karidis said.