Avid names new CEO

Gary GreenfieldGary Greenfield’s the new boss. The whole announcement’s here.

There’s been the requisite gnashing of teeth on some of the mailing lists, mostly because Greenfield lacks video industry experience. I’m not convinced that’s reason enough to dismiss the hire. Avid needs a leader experienced in changing a technology organization as its product faces commoditization.

Greenfield has been CEO of GXS since 2003, a leading worldwide provider of business-to-business integration, synchronization and collaboration solutions. Since December 2003, he has also been an operating partner with Francisco Partners, a leading technology-focused private equity firm.

Previously, he served as CEO of Peregrine Systems where he managed the restructuring of their business; president and CEO of MERANT; and while CEO of INTERSOLV, they merged with Micro Focus to form MERANT. He has experience growing businesses both organically and through acquisition, managing development, marketing and operations, and serving diverse customers from small businesses to the Fortune 500.

The question is what will Greenfield do with Avid. MERANT was sold to Serena in 2004 after Greenfield left the helm. But rumors of an acquisition had been in and out of circulation for a couple of years. GXS is privately owned by Francisco Partners and Norwest Ventures.

Might Avid be sold? Might it go private? Interesting enough questions for investors, what about editors and facility owners? Greenfield’s background is in managing B2B companies. Good. The fixation the previous team, spurred on by analysts, had with Avid getting into the consumer space led to the disastrous Pinnacle acquisition. Greenfield is comfortable in narrow verticals. Better.

In the past Avid’s been terrible at the relationship thing. Maybe now Avid can get serious with companies like Adobe and find ways to partner to fill the ever-expanding gaps in the Avid post-production workflow (especially on the Mac). An overture to Red might work well for both companies as P, though it probably will have little effect on either companies’ top line.

If I was a betting man… I’d bet Avid will end up going private, and the NLE market will continue evolving as it has.

Interesting list fodder, but little near term effect for editors. Normally I’d say wait until NAB, but…

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