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Atlassian heading for the exit?

New Board members have extensive experience selling software companies to the big boys

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Atlassian has appointed Doug Burgum, a software entrepreneur and former head of Microsoft’s Business Solutions Group, as its Chairman in a move viewed as taking the Australian software darling into the global tech major league.

The company which now operates in Sydney, San Francisco and Amsterdam, also plumped up its board with the addition of ex-Adobe Systems CFO Murray Demo, and Accel Partners exec Kirk Bowman.

The new board recruits are skilled at grooming software companies into a highly valued acquisition targets.

Prior to joining Microsoft, Burgum was chief executive of ERP start-up Great Plains Software which he sold to Microsoft in 2001 for US$1.1 billion. At Microsoft he led the $2 billion dollar acquisition of Denmark’s Navision. Exiting Microsoft, Burgum became chairman of the SuccessFactors board which was snapped up by SAP $4.3 billion.

Meanwhile, prior to joining Accel, Bowman was an executive at storage company Equallogic, which was acquired by Dell in 2008 for $1.4 billion.

The addition of the high profile M&A execs leave little to the imagination on where Atlassian's cofounders, Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes are taking the company, which until now has been run like an accelerated, hipster start-up.

Atlassian refrained from raising outside capital until 2010, when it received $60 million in a Series A round led by Accel Partners. ®

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