Docker CEO Steve Singh is stepping down after just two years on the job, with the mission of transforming the container darling into a revenue-generating enterprise vendor still in progress.
Singh will be replaced by former Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden, according to a press release. Bearden was expected to leave his company after its merger with longtime rival Cloudera last year, and he will join Docker’s board of directors while Singh remains chairman of that board.
Singh took over at Docker nearly two years to the day before his departure from the company, which rose to prominence by making containers easy to use for software developers. Docker containers allow developers to deploy their applications in portable packages that can run across multiple cloud servers, and those containers became one of the most quickly adopted enterprise technologies since the client met the server.
However, Docker has been unable to translate that technology foresight into big business, which is one of the reasons why Singh was brought on board after a long career at Bellevue’s Concur. Techcrunch reported that Singh and Bearden had been working on a transition plan for several months, and an email from Singh to Docker employees suggests that he wasn’t interested in leading the company through an initial public offering.
Docker will need to do something in the near future to satisfy investors who have poured $272 million into the company, according to Crunchbase. The company missed out on the chance to extend its container expertise to the next level, as the open-source Kubernetes project and third-party products like Red Hat’s OpenShift have absorbed a lot of Docker’s revenue potential, but under Singh Docker took the initial steps toward a future as a company that promised to hold enterprise customers’ hands as they transitioned into the container world.
It’s not clear what’s next for Singh, who has long-standing roots in the Pacific Northwest and is a strategic director at Madrona Venture Group. In the email to employees, he suggested that he would remain at Docker for a short period of transition before leaving the company.
Here’s a video of Singh and Docker chief product officer Scott Johnston speaking at the inaugural GeekWire Cloud Summit in 2017, about a month after he joined the company.
[Editor’s note: This post was updated as more information became available.]