Rackspace appoints a new CEO

Rackspace today announced that its board has appointed Joe Eazor as its new CEO, effective June 12. Eazor will replace Rackspace president Jeff Cotten, who stepped in as the company’s interim CEO after former CEO Taylor Rhodes left the company about three weeks ago.

At the time, Rhodes said he left Rackspace to become “the CEO of a smaller private company.” That company, we now know, was the Chicago-based property management firm SMS Assist.

In a moment of unusual frankness — especially in this kind of context — interim CEO Cotten, who became Rackspace’s president in January, acknowledged that he had hoped to become the full-time CEO himself. “I don’t mind telling you that when I was named interim CEO of Rackspace a few weeks ago, I was hoping that I would be able to shed the first word of that title and serve as the long-term chief executive at the company that I love,” he wrote. “But my attitude was that if our board of directors could find someone better — someone with more relevant experience; someone I could learn from and collaborate with, I would be all for it. And that’s exactly what the board has done.”

Eazor joins Rackspace after stints at EarthLink, where he worked on moving the company from its focus on dial-up internet many moons ago to a new focus on cloud networking. Before that, he was at EMC, HP and EDS. Among other things, he led EDS’s Asia Pacific business and offshoring operations.

“I’m excited by the huge market opportunity that Rackspace has, as companies move out of their corporate data centers and into multiple clouds,” said Eazor in today’s announcement. “Rackspace is uniquely well positioned to take advantage of this trend, as the only provider who can deliver expertise and exceptional customer service for all the leading public and private clouds, along with managed hosting. Thanks to the strategy Rackspace adopted a few years ago, it’s got the early lead in the managed cloud space. My goal here is to build on that foundation and make us the world’s preeminent IT-services company.”