RALEIGH – As IBM and Red Hat officially closed their $34 billion merger, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst wrote his employees a letter seeking to assure them that the Raleigh-based company would operate as a “distinct unit” within the much-larger Big Blue.
In fact, Whitehurst included in the headline of the letter: “Red Hat is still Red Hat.”
“You’ve heard me say this before, but it bears repeating,” he wrote. “Red Hat is still Red Hat. IBM is committed to preserving Red Hat’s independence, neutrality, culture and industry partnerships.
“I know you want to know what this means for you and it’s pretty straightforward. Our mission, our culture, our ‘community first’ commitment, our product portfolio, our leadership team, our day-to-day operations, our brand and our soul are going to remain the same. Our unwavering commitment to open source—and all that it takes to bring it into the enterprise—is what makes us Red Hat. That is not changing.”
To open the letter, Whitehurst said he and IBM CEO/chair Ginni Rometty – the boss to whom he now reports directly – are on the same page.
“Last October, we announced our intention to join forces with IBM, with the aim of becoming the world’s top hybrid cloud provider. Since then, the promise IBM chairman, president, and CEO Ginni Rometty and I made has not changed,” he wrote.
“In fact, our commitment to that vision has grown – Red Hat will remain a distinct unit in IBM as we work to help customers deliver any app, anywhere, realizing the true value of the hybrid cloud. This morning, we can share that the most significant tech acquisition of 2019 has officially closed and we can now begin moving forward.”
A video posted at YouTube focuses on the Red Hat-IBM relationship:
Red Hat is known internationally for a free-spirit environment that dates back to its founding 25 years ago under Bob Young and Marc Ewing.
How the Hatters would fit with IBM has been a topic of considerable conversation and speculation since the deal was announced. And “distinct unit” is something on which Whitehurst was adamant.
In the recent Red Hat Summit, Rometty went out of her way to say she had “no death wish” and promised – again – that Red Hat’s identity would be protected.
An all-hands meeting is scheduled today at which Whitehurst, Rometty and other executives will participate, Whitehurst wrote.
“I want to thank all Red Hatters, our customers, partners, and the community for your feedback, support, commitment and passion for open source and Red Hat,” he added in closing.
“You are what makes Red Hat so unique. Let’s bring this same energy into our next chapter.”