Most people were caught by surprise yesterday when Mark Shuttleworth, CEO of Canonical, the company that backs-up Ubuntu stepped down as the Linux company’s CEO. But after I thought about it for a bit, the move made perfect sense to me and for where I believe Shuttleworth wants to take Ubuntu.
First, as for his move, Shuttleworth is a really bright guy. He’s so bright, in fact, that he realizes his limitations. While Shuttleworth is a great start-up company guy–remember he made his fortune by starting and then selling Thawte, an Internet security company–and he knows technology well, he’s come to the conclusion that he’s not the right guy to be the CEO of a maturing company.
Do you know how rare it is to realize that just because you’re good at getting a company launched or you’re a technical wiz that doesn’t mean you’re going to be a great corporate manager? I can’t count how many potentially great companies I’ve seen crash and burn because their leaders didn’t realize that just because they were wonderful visionaries didn’t mean that they had what it takes to be a CEO.