Seattle DevOps startup Chef made several organizational changes this week, installing co-founder and CTO Adam Jacob as head of engineering and giving its chief marketing officer control of sales amid the departure of that group’s leader, GeekWire has learned.
Chef CEO Barry Crist announced the changes Monday in an email to Chef employees, which GeekWire has obtained. Tucker Callaway, who led sales at Chef, is leaving the company for another position in the Bay Area, according to the memo, although Callaway has yet to update his LinkedIn profile. Replacing him will be Ken Cheney, currently head of marketing for Chef, who first became head of marketing last year after joining the company in 2013.
And Jacob, who co-founded the company and also wrote the Chef open-source project that forms the basis for the company, now runs the engineering team in addition to his other duties as CTO.
The role of CTO often means many things over the course of a company’s life. Right now Chef’s engineering execution is paramount to our success. As such, I’ve asked Adam to move his focus from product to engineering, with our VP, Engineering, Seth Falcon, now reporting to him. Adam’s task is to magnify and accelerate the efforts that are already in motion in our engineering organization.
A Chef representative confirmed the memo was sent yesterday. “Chef is a leader and continuing to grow in a fast-changing industry, and we keep that position by staying agile and defining roles based on the needs of our customers and the larger market. These organizational changes best suit external stakeholders, internal teams and our company as a whole,” the company said in a statement. Other moves made this week included promoting Shanku Niyogi to vice president of product and Marc Holmes now runs worldwide marketing, according to the memo.
Chef makes tools that software development organizations use to automate much of the drudgery of modern software construction and assist in the transition from older application development styles to cloud-friendly ones. Its flagship product is called Chef Automate, which now incorporates three open-source DevOps projects — Chef, InSpec, and Habitat — into a single package for deploying applications.
The company also reorganized in 2016, which involved a few layoffs. A source told GeekWire that several high-level project and sales employees have left the company in recent months, but the Chef representative said there were no layoffs as part of this week’s changes. Three hundred employees work at Chef across its Seattle headquarters and other offices in San Francisco, London, and Berlin.
Chef has raised a fair amount of money; $103 million, as of 2015. It’s not clear why “engineering execution” has suddenly become a top priority at Chef, and if you have any further information, please let us know.
(Editor’s note: This post was updated to clarify Ken Cheney’s tenure at Chef.)