Nils Brauckmann, SUSE CEO who led the company through its turbulent phase and eventually made it an independent company again is retiring, paving the path for a new leader of the green team.

“I am incredibly proud of SUSE’s progress and growth over the last eight years, which has culminated in it securing independent status,” Brauckmann said.

For the first time in the long history of SUSE, a female will be leading the company as its CEO. Melissa Di Donato has been named the successor of Brauckmann. Di Donato comes to SUSE at a time when it has emerged as one of the biggest open-source software company, as Red Hat becomes a part of IBM.

“With this chapter of SUSE’s corporate development complete, I could not be more pleased to hand off the leadership of SUSE to Melissa. She is a proven and dynamic change agent, and many of her achievements have occurred in subscription businesses that exist in high-growth cloud environments,” Brauckmann said, “Melissa is someone I am confident will lead SUSE to realize its fullest potential.”

Di Donato has some unique challenges and opportunities ahead of her as he takes the helm of the world’s ‘first’ Linux company. Linux is still the core business of SUSE, but the company has been investing heavily in emerging technologies like Kubernetes. It will be interesting to see how Di Donato steers in the world that is dominated by cloud-native and ‘Everything as a Service’  technologies.

“SUSE is at the cusp of a historic shift as open-source software is now a critical part of any thriving enterprise’s core business strategy,” said  Di Donato in a press release. “We are well-positioned to emerge as the clear leader of this shift, with our ability to power digital transformation for our customers at their own pace and with agile, enterprise-grade open source solutions, edge to core to cloud.”

In the press release, SUSE said Di Donato will focus on SUSE’s commercial success and innovation in its core business as well as in emerging technologies, both organically and through add-on acquisitions. SUSE’s independence will continue to be aligned with a single-minded focus on delivering what is best for customers and partners, coupled with full control over its own destiny.

Prior to SUSE, Di Donato was chief operating officer and chief revenue officer at SAP where she was responsible for the worldwide revenue, profit and customer satisfaction of the company’s digital core solutions. She also held senior executive positions at Salesforce and was recognized for her contributions to growing global organizations by winning the 2018 Digital Masters Award for Excellence in Commercial Management.

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