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Utah's Fusion-io alters executive ranks

Published May 8, 2013 10:12 pm

Tech • Co-founders step down from top positions, with CEO replaced by HP, Apple vet.
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Fusion-io, the Utah tech company that's made a name for itself by developing products for a host of high-profile businesses but whose stock has not sustained much traction since its debut two years ago, is shaking up its executive landscape.

Co-founders David Flynn and Rick White are stepping down as CEO and chief marketing director, respectively, but will both remain on the board of directors and advise the Cottonwood Heights-based company over the next year.

Replacing Flynn as CEO will be high-tech veteran Shane Robison, 59, who serves on the company's board of directors. Flynn, who also served as president, will pursue "entrepreneurial investing activities," and White said he will join Flynn in their search for new ventures.

"David and Rick's vision as co-founders has redefined memory technology and had a profound impact on our industry," Scott Sandell, lead independent director of the Fusion-io board, said in a statement. "Under their leadership, Fusion-io has developed into one of the world's leading technology companies, helping businesses increase data center efficiency."

Wall Street reacted warily Wednesday. Fusion-io's shares, traded on the New York Stock Exchange, closed down $3.40, or 19 percent, at $14.60. They got a nickle of that back in after-hours trading but have not approached their high of $40.34 (Nov. 17, 2011) in many months and generally have been on a downward track since early October 2012.

In its latest quarterly earnings report, the company reported a net loss of more than $20 million in the period ending March 31. It also reported a net loss of $14.4 million for the last nine months.

Despite the net losses and declining stock price, Robison said Wednesday that the management changes have nothing to do with Wright's and Flynn's performances or the well-being of Fusion-io.

"This announcement was not predicated by a problem with the company. It's very sound and doing well. It was not a problem with financials. David and Rick didn't do anything wrong," Robison said. "What this decision was is more in the normal course of evolution of a company as it grows, from a founder-led IPO . . . to a much bigger company with multiple product lines."

Robison, who before joining Fusion-io in 2011 served as executive vice president and chief strategy and technology officer for Hewlett-Packard, also worked for Compaq, AT&T Labs, Cadence Design Systems and Apple. He's a graduate of the University of Utah in computer science.

Fusion-io develops solid-state memory products for businesses. Earlier this year, it introduced a memory accelerator card and software solution for small businesses that allows startups to store and stream data to huge numbers of customers. The Fusion ioScale is a computer card for servers that can store terabytes of information for smaller companies and at more affordable prices.

Its products are sold by the likes of computer server makers IBM, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, and used by companies such as Apple, Facebook and Salesforce.com.

The company employs about 850 people and has offices in Denver and San Jose, Calif., with headquarters in Cottonwood Heights. Robison said the management shakeup will not result in changes in the workforce.







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