- Frank Slootman became CEO of data cloud company Snowflake in April 2019.
- Rumors that he’ll soon leave have been circulating since April, when a major stock package vested and Mark McLaughlin joined the board.
- But Slootman tells Insider that such rumors are completely false.
Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman tells Insider that ongoing rumors that he could soon step down are completely untrue.
Insider heard rumors of Slootman’s departure from multiple industry sources, and reached out to ask Slootman if he was leaving soon.
“You are wrong on all counts. You are regurgitating competitive FUD,” Slootman told us in his famously direct, no-nonsense style. FUD, or fear-uncertainty-doubt, is a favorite old-school tech acronym.
Talk of Slootman’s departure from Snowflake started circulating shortly after Mark McLaughlin, the former CEO and chairman of the board of Palo Alto Networks, joined Snowflake’s board of directors in April, sources close to the data cloud company told Insider. Two people familiar with the company said they believe that McLaughlin would be the one to step into the CEO role if Slootman departs soon. McLaughlin flat-out denied it.
“I can tell you definitively this rumor is totally inaccurate,” McLaughlin told Insider.
Snowflake also denied speculation that Slootman is leaving the company.
“Frank Slootman is not leaving his position as Chairman and CEO of Snowflake,” a spokesperson for the company told Insider.
This speculation is so widespread that various anecdotes involving the people involved are being widely shared. Insider won’t repeat them, as Slootman has rebuffed the notion of his departure.
Slootman joined Snowflake as CEO in April 2019, ahead of its IPO in September 2020. His initial package of nearly 14 million shares of Snowflake vested over four years, according to an offer letter filed with the SEC. So as of April, he was fully vested.
Slootman joined Snowflake following then-CEO Bob Muglia’s sudden departure after five years leading the company. At the time, insiders suggested that Snowflake tapped Slootman because of his track record of public market debuts. Before Snowflake, he took two other tech companies public — ServiceNow in 2012 and Data Domain in 2007.
As previously reported by Insider, Slootman is known for being hard-driving and politically conservative. Snowflake has grown considerably under his leadership, with annual revenue ballooning from $264.7 million for fiscal 2020 to $2.6 billion for fiscal 2023, which ended on January 31 of this year. However, his reign has not been without controversy. For instance, in 2021, Slootman was criticized for his public comments suggesting that diversity shouldn’t “override” merit in hiring decisions. He later issued an apology.
From 2011 to 2018, McLaughlin served as CEO and chairman of the board of Palo Alto Networks, the global cybersecurity firm. He resigned as vice chairman of the board in December. Prior to that, McLaughlin held several executive roles at VeriSign. He is currently chairman of the board at Qualcomm.
Snowflake’s annual conference, Snowflake Summit, began Monday in Las Vegas, and runs through June 29. Slootman is scheduled to deliver the keynote.
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