News.com reported Thursday that former Delta Airlines chief operating officer James Whitehurst will take the helm at leading Linux distributor Red Hat effective Jan. 1. Current CEO Matthew Szulik is stepping aside to deal with "family health issues," the story says. Szulik will stay on as board chairman, but he noted that the president/CEO role "requires a 7x24, 110 percent commitment."
News.com blogger Stephen Shankland says Szulik calls Whitehurst a "hands-on guy who will be a strong cultural fit at Red Hat." Part of that fit results from Whitehurst's former experience as a programmer -- not to mention that he reportedly "runs four versions of Linux at home." Whitehurst's tenure at Delta spanned from 2002 to August of this year.
In a Red Hat blog post on Thursday, Szulik had this to say:
I take pride when customers and industry types comment to me that the people of Red Hat are "different." Not like the cylons who have come to dominate the industry of technology. Through our actions, the open source community and the people of Red Hat are defining a modern economic relationship between developer and customer. Collaboration. Transparency and value delivered...
...I thank the people of Red Hat. I will always be grateful for the sacrifices, contributions and camaraderie.