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Xio Storage CEO on his 290-mile commute

Leaders have to be smelled, not just heard

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Comment I am stunned. Xio's new CEO has said he'll spend at least half his time at Xio's headquarters. Is he for real?

We're told that this is better than previous CEO Alan Atkinson's turnout; he didn't have a Colorado base despite moving Xio to Colorado Springs. The new boss, John Beletic, has homes in Dallas, Texas, and Telluride, Colorado. But wait a second: we're supposed to think living in Telluride, 290 miles by road from corporate HQ, is acceptable, like it's just a daily commute away?

A chief executive officer is responsible for the total management of the business. He or she is the main face of the company, the head communicator, decision-maker, manager and, here's the rub, leader.

Leaders have to be present. Leaders have to be seen, heard, smelled, touched. Leaders have to be real. Leaders have to be deeply ingrained in the grain of the business, have the respect of everyone in it and be able to lead them by example. If they live a six-hour drive away, then that is the example they set for every one else.

We've been told that Xio has closed down its software development operation in India, and that Mark Glasgow, the former VP of sales, was ousted. We also know that other talent, including Grant Lander, senior business development director, is leaving – in his case to join EMC.

Isn't it bad news when the top person in a company, the person on whom everyone else depends and draws their energy and direction, is semi-detached?

The CEO should be based in the business. Isn't it that simple, really? We asked John Beletic what he thinks about this and this is what he said:

To start, there is nothing short-term oriented about my assignment or Oak’s dedication to this business. We are making long-term decisions with the intent of building a great company. With the Hyper ISE and some new solution and application sets in development, along with some important accomplishments not yet announced, we are about to accelerate our sales growth in what should be a long term sales ramp. The proof will be in the results, and while we do not publish our sales growth, our success will be evident to you given how well you are connected with the industry. We have NO interest in an acquisition as there is a tremendous amount of shareholder appreciation yet to be realised.

With respect to how I allocate my full-time position between working in the Springs or from the road or being with channel partners and customers, the bottom line measure is my effectiveness as a CEO. I suspect your sources will tell you I am having quite an impact in a short period of time. Much more to come.

With respect to Mark Glasgow, Mark decided before I arrived that he was leaving the company. It has allowed me to have a flatter organization (I like flat organizations), as a result, I am delighted by the inclusion of our two very talented US VP of Sales on my senior staff. Along with the eventual inclusion of International and a VP of Marketing, we will have four revenue-oriented executives sitting on the senior staff of the company setting the product and strategic direction of the company, a good balance in what has historically been a more heavily engineering focused company.

Stay tuned, this is going to be a great story.

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