Three years in: Can Kurian heal sickly NetApp’s woes?
Profile After three years of flat and declining revenues, #NetApp needs to regain its mojo and George Kurian is the CEO tasked with doing just that.
Kurian, a year into his CEO role, is running NetApp at a time when this external array company par excellence is facing numerous threats: rampant all-flash array competition, hyper-converged systems denying the need for external storage, public cloud attacking on-premises storage, software-defined storage looking to replace NetApp kit with commodity components, and on-premises external array competitors bringing new tech to the market faster.
All company CEOs profess a belief in team work and the company as community, but few walk that walk, talk that talk, and really, really believe it. George Kurian has journeyed a long, long way from a childhood in southern India to the Silicon Valley pinnacle of running NetApp, and his character has been honed by genes, family upbringing and experience.
He has a twin brother, Thomas, and the way they were raised, their education, and careers are closely intertwined, with Thomas nowPresident of Product Development at Oracle, reporting to chairman and CTO Larry Ellison, and a 20-year veteran at the company.
George and his twin were born to P.C. Kurian and his wife Molly in a village called Kothala near Pampady in the southern India state of Kerala.
Kurian senior was a chemical engineer and the general manager of Graphite India.
The twins were the youngest of four brothers, and were raised in a Christian household. Their mother was quite strict and insisted on a disciplined approach to life.
As their father’s career involved moving around India, the twins boarded at the Jesuit-run St Joseph’s Boys High School in Bengaluru, capital of the neighbouring Karnataka state, and both progressed to the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM), India. There they both took SAT tests and sent the results to various colleges, including Princeton University, which liked them so much that both were offered partial scholarship places.