Szulik out at Red Hat; former Delta exec tapped as CEO

Red Hat said it hired the former COO of Delta Airlines to serve as president and CEO.

Longtime Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik is being replaced, the company announced on the same day it posted a quarterly revenue gain of 28 percent.

James Whitehurst, formerly the chief operating officer for Delta Airlines, will take on Szulik's leadership positions and a seat on the board starting in the new year. Szulik, currently president and CEO, will remain as chairman of the board.

Szulik had been Red Hat's CEO for the past eight years and is one of the most prominent business executives in the open-source world.

Whitehurst joins Red Hat as the company works through a transition aimed at helping it compete better with giants like Oracle and Microsoft. The company is best known for its Linux server distribution, but that market is getting increasingly crowded. As a result, Red Hat is trying to reach out into other areas or beef up existing offerings, like its services.

Despite the competitive landscape, Red Hat managed to produce solid results for its third quarter ending Nov. 30. It posted revenue of US$135.4 million, an increase of 28 percent over the same period last year.

Net income reached US$20.3 million or US$0.10 per diluted share, compared with US$14.6 million or US$0.07 per diluted share in the corresponding quarter of 2006.

The company highlighted its JBoss Advanced Partner Program, launched during the quarter, aimed at offering support services to value-added resources in North America. Red Hat bought JBoss last year as part of its efforts to expand its offerings.

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