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Rhodes Leaving Rackspace, Cotten Named Interim CEO

Rackspace CEO Taylor Rhodes is leaving the company on May 16 to become CEO of an unnamed smaller company, and President Jeff Cotten is stepping up as interim CEO while the board of directors seeks a long-term replacement to lead the privately held San Antonio, Texas-based hosting giant.

Calling it a tough decision in a blog post Wednesday, Rhodes said, "I'm going to become the CEO of a smaller private company. It's based in another city. It does not compete with Rackspace. I'll be able to talk more specifically about it in a couple of weeks, but for now let me just say that it's about the size Rackspace was when I started here 10 years ago -- and it's growing about as rapidly. It's using cloud technologies to disrupt what has been a very low-tech industry. The company is going through growing pains and needs a CEO who has been through those challenges before."

According to Rhodes, the board considers Cotten a strong candidate for the permanent CEO job.

Cotten was promoted to president on Feb. 1, after eight years at Rackspace that included three years running Rackspace's international business and most recently running Rackspace's fast-growing Fanatical Support for Amazon Web Services (AWS) business. The AWS program is patterned after a similar Fanatical Support for Microsoft Azure program that is a slightly bigger operation for Rackspace, which is also an indirect provider in the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program and a five-time Microsoft Partner of the Year Award winner.

Cotten said the company, which went private in a $4.3 billion deal that closed in November, will not "take any kind of timeout" during his interim CEO tenure.

"We're going to keep driving to expand Rackspace's leadership of the fast-growing market for managed cloud services," Cotten wrote in a blog post.

Posted by Scott Bekker on May 04, 2017 at 11:46 AM