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CenturyLink’s Big Shake-Up: Top 2 Cloud Execs Departing

Edward GatelyCenturyLink is losing its top two cloud executives with the Dec. 1 departures of Jared Wray and Jonathan King.

However, CenturyLink denies a Fortune report that the exits may indicate a strategic shift away from public cloud infrastructure where it faces competition from bigger players like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure.

CenturyLink's Justin LopinotJustin Lopinot, CenturyLink spokesman, said cloud services and platform innovation remain a key focus, with a team of developers, engineers and product management actively developing new features that continue to enhance the CenturyLink Cloud and platform.

“We’ve proven our commitment to cloud, and our partners and customers through recent acquisitions, adding database-as-a-service (Orchestrate), analytics that help companies derive intelligence from massive data sets (Cognilytics) and disaster-recovery services (DataGardens), among other investments,” Lopinot told Channel Partners. “We have excellent leadership in place to drive our cloud and platform strategy forward.”

The departures give CenturyLink the chance to streamline its product development and technology organization by flattening the structure and sharing more responsibilities, Lopinot said.

Jonathan KingJared Wray“Moving forward, we have determined it is time to combine cloud functions with our core technology groups in alignment with our long-term strategy to transform into a major player in the IP-enabled network services, cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions markets,” he said. “This combination of functions will allow us to fully integrate the CenturyLink technology teams, better scale our product offerings to the marketplace and gain efficiencies by flattening the organizational structure.”

As senior vice president of platform and application framework development, Wray has been a “driving force” in building CenturyLink’s cloud capabilities, integrating its technology platform and setting a path for a strong future, Lopinot said. As vice president of platform strategy and business development, King has led numerous cloud strategy, partnerships and go-to-market activities, he added.

Wray is leaving to pursue other opportunities, while King has accepted a position at …

… another company, CenturyLink said.

“CenturyLink is one of the few telcos that has articulated a holistic strategy to address enterprise network and compute requirements,” Al Sadowski, research director, 451 Research Service Provider channel, told Channel Partners. “It maintains a global network, a portfolio of data centers, cloud-based infrastructure and IT services with a goal to manage all of this via a self-service portal. However, aligning a legacy network business and a cloud culture is not something its major competitors, like AWS, have to contend with in order to be successful.”

Last spring, Andrew Higginbotham, who led all of CenturyLink’s cloud and managed-services businesses, left the company after more than 13 years. He played a key role in CenturyLink’s acquisition of Savvis in 2011, in addition to the company’s purchases of the assets of Ciber’s IT outsourcing business in 2012, and platform-as-a-service provider AppFog and public cloud provider Tier 3 in 2013.


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