Nolan and I started Cumulus Networks with a specific vision: to help people build better, faster, easier networks. To change the way that people think about building and deploying applications, regardless of scale. A lot of people have contributed into turning this vision into reality, and we’re excited by everything that we’ve achieved.
As we closed our series A, it was time to name a CEO, and we didn’t want to trust the company to a “professional CEO”. To that end, I took on the responsibility. In the early days I was able to stay involved with the technology and products; however, as the company has progressed, I’ve had less time to spend in the areas that motivated me to start the company.
Then along came Josh. He participated in our extensive (some would say exhaustive) VP of Sales selection process and stood out. His ability to grasp the business details as well as manage the team dynamics showed us that he has chops. He joined us in June of 2015 and continued to impress. He did his day job effectively by restructuring our sales team, refining the sales process, getting operations tight, and closing deals. He also became a very trusted advisor, helping with company strategy, partner relationships, fundraising, board management, and hiring. Around November, it became clear that Josh would make a great CEO.
Then came a turning point. In early February, Nolan pulled me aside and let me know that he was ready to start a slow transition out of company operations. While I’m comforted that Nolan will be around for a while, I was also stuck with a huge problem… I needed to find a great CTO. As I thought about qualifications and candidates, I kept coming back to “JR, you know you really want this job…”. At times during my consideration, my ego would pop up and say, “Dude, don’t be lame… you took the responsibility of CEO, what are you thinking?” As I reflected on this sentiment, I was drawn back to the beginnings of the company. I co-founded Cumulus Networks to help people build better, faster, easier networks; not to be a CEO… that part was circumstance.
My plan was further propelled because I knew that Josh would be a great CEO. Broaching this idea with him solidified my thinking. Among the many things we discussed that day, one thing stood out. He said, “I’ve always wanted to be a CEO, and I’ve been working towards that my whole career.” I realized then that he would attack the role with the same energy that I looked forward to throwing into product pursuits…. we would both be finding level.
Today, I’m proud to announce that Josh Leslie is taking over as CEO of Cumulus Networks. I look forward to working with him in pursuit of the dream.