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NYT: Tucci fired Greene in front of her husband, offered her seat to him

Wow. Looks like all that speculation about bad blood between Joe Tucci and Diane Greene wasn’t just true — it was worse than people thought.

The New York Times today has an explosive story with the ugly details of July 7, when Tucci, the EMC CEO and VMware chairman, fired Greene, VMware’s CEO and co-founder.

Citing anonymous sources, the paper says that Tucci called Greene into a room, along with her husband, VMware co-founder and chief scientist Mendel Rosenblum. First, Tucci fired Greene — right there, in front of Rosenblum. Then, adding insult to injury, he turned to Rosenblum and offered him his wife’s seat on VMware’s board!

Predictably, Rosenblum said no. He then took a month-long vacation before finally deciding to resign from VMware last night, according to virtualization.info.

Since Greene’s firing, VMware’s stock price has fallen, other top executives have left the company, and Microsoft has pushed full-speed ahead with its virtualization initiative. Now, this Times story raises questions both about Tucci’s character and his management style.

I’m not going to say this is a perfect storm of bad publicity, because I used to work in Gloucester and it’s a totally overused phrase, but it’s clearly not what VMware needs now, just days before VMworld 2008 in Las Vegas.

VMware partners will be the first to hear from new CEO Paul Maritz as he attempts to right the ship. His keynote address will kick off Partner Day on Monday, and what he has to say will do a lot to shape the future for VMware and its partners. 

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