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Acquia Names Michael Sullivan as CEO

MassTLC member Acquia announced earlier this week that it has hired Michael Sullivan, formerly of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, as its Chief Executive Officer. Former CEO and MassTLC Trustee, Tom Erickson, stepped down less than a year ago as part of announced changes to the company’s leadership structure. Sullivan joins the team just as Aquia is rumored to be eyeing an IPO.

Read the full press release, below.

BOSTON, Nov. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Acquia today announced the selection of Michael Sullivan as Chief Executive Officer, effective in December 2017. Sullivan, 52, has extensive experience in building market-leading, high-growth SaaS organizations and has led the acquisition and integration of numerous companies over the course of his career. He brings to Acquia 25 years of focused experience in content management, archival solutions, electronic discovery and enterprise content governance solutions, and joins Acquia as the company marks its 10th anniversary as a pioneer in cloud-based, open source web content management.

Sullivan joins Acquia from Micro Focus, where he participated in the merger of Micro Focus with Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s software business. The combined company became the world’s seventh largest pure-play software company and the largest UK technology firm listed on the London Stock Exchange.1 Sullivan was responsible for the information management and governance product portfolio both at Micro Focus and at HP, where he was senior VP and GM for SaaS. Prior to joining HP, he led the Protect business unit at Autonomy, which delivered risk and compliance solutions to Fortune 1000 companies. He joined Autonomy through the acquisition of Zantaz, where he was senior VP of operations and services. Sullivan was the founder and CEO of Steelpoint Technologies, a pioneer in technologies for the intelligent management of unstructured information.

He will succeed Tom Erickson, as part of the succession plan announced in May. Erickson will continue as a member of the board of directors. As part of the succession plan, Acquia Co-founder Dries Buytaert will be elevated to chairman, and will serve in that capacity in addition to his duties as CTO. Buytaert is also founder and project lead of Drupal, the open source web content management system he created in 2001.

“Mike is one of the most dynamic technology leaders I have met,” Buytaert said. “Like me, he founded a company in his twenties which he has led ever since. His deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by large global enterprises aligns perfectly with Acquia’s focus on providing data-driven customer journey solutions to organizations that have ambitious digital aspirations and challenges.”

In recent months under Buytaert’s leadership, Acquia expanded the capabilities of the Acquia Platform, building upon its core capabilities — namely its Drupal-tuned cloud platform with multisite management and personalization solutions — to support data-driven, personalized customer journeys. The Acquia Platform now incorporates a broader set of technologies such as Node.js, journey orchestration, commerce integrations, and digital asset management, all of which dramatically improve the digital customer experience. Sullivan will lead the company into its second decade, rolling out its expanded platform to digital marketers and brand executives looking to orchestrate the customer experience across every touch point.

“Anyone with an ear to the ground of the Boston tech sector knows one of its brightest stars is Acquia. The passion of the company’s 800 employees is unmistakable, and the opportunity we have to transform the customer experience is second to none,” Sullivan said. “Dries’ founding vision to pioneer cloud-based, open source content management has been proven over and over as Acquia delivered success to some of the world’s most innovative organizations. Acquia sits in the most exciting sector of today’s tech landscape. The company’s bold moves into data-driven customer journeys is the latest demonstration of the company’s intense focus on creating cloud solutions to solve the biggest challenges global organizations are facing today.”

Sullivan added, “Acquia has built a legacy helping thousands of organizations accelerate their success with Drupal. The open source community that has powered Drupal’s development has delivered outstanding innovation for open source web content management. As we enter 2018, Acquia will continue be a strong partner to the Drupal community, as we continue to keep our focus squarely on supporting our customers and their most strategic digital initiatives.”

“Michael joins the company at a tremendous point in its evolution, and his vast experience in fueling the growth of global SaaS companies will be a vital asset as he leads Acquia into the next phase of its growth,” said Rich D’Amore, a general partner at North Bridge Venture Partners and a member of Acquia’s board of directors.

Sullivan will work from the company’s Boston headquarters. A lifelong resident of Massachusetts, he is married and has three children.

Sullivan was recognized by Ernst & Young as an Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in both 2000 and 2004. Earlier in his career, he was a software developer for Raytheon. He holds a degree in computer information systems from Bentley University.

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