Tim Minahan Leaves SAP (and Ariba) For Citrix – A New Chapter Begins

Tim Minahan

It’s official. While his pending departure from SAP was rumored for months, Tim Minahan, without question the single most influential marketing leader in the procurement space in the past decade, has left SAP for Citrix. Tim had most recently served as chief marketing officer for SAP Cloud and prior to that was the chief marketing officer of Ariba. Before Ariba, he started as journalist/analyst before making the jump to the “dark side” (i.e., the vendor world) as the head of marketing for Procuri — which Ariba eventually acquired.

Tim’s early analyst work at Aberdeen put the firm on the map for procurement research. (It has not been the same since he left for Procuri and after Aberdeen’s sale to Harte Hanks.) When I joined FreeMarkets, in 1999, some of the first pieces I read that brought me up to speed on procurement technology in the sector were written by Tim. Along with Pierre Mitchell, who now leads research here at Spend Matters, in case you’ve been sleeping the last few years, Tim was the first tech influencer with both credibility and insight in the procurement solution sector.

At Citrix, Tim will be joining his former colleague Bob Calderoni, who ran Ariba’s line of business and was previously president and CEO of Ariba. Bob is now a Citrix board member and the company’s interim CEO. Citrix bills itself as offering “software-defining the workplace, uniting virtualization, mobility management, networking and SaaS solutions to enable new ways for businesses and people to work better.” In other words, it’s not just screen scraping terminal emulation anymore. It also owns GoToMeeting (for now…).

Citrix no doubt represents a new path for Tim and offers some new challenges to tackle compared to Ariba. When Tim joined Ariba, the firm was about to face a significant challenge in transitioning its revenue model to focus on supplier fees in addition to buyer fees, as well as shifting its overall technology model to drive entirely towards the cloud away from on-premise enterprise software — a massive shift on both fronts.

Citrix brings a different set of opportunities. Although it’s similar to SAP in terms of being a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster built largely on acquisitions — nearly 50 in total for Citrix, sort of an OpenText or Infor in its own right — it is similar to Ariba in terms of needing a turnaround. Citrix has recently announced layoffs of roughly 1,000 employees, and Bob will undoubtedly bring some additional fiscal discipline to the business while Tim works on the revenue and branding side of the house.

Citrix is in the process of looking at how to maximize shareholder value (e.g., spinning out its GoTo business unit) and other initiatives. Helping identify what is “core” and non-core from both a product and overall market space that Citrix wants to own will no doubt be essential for Tim in his new endeavor. But whatever is retained, Tim will likely find a good way to tell a compelling story and make something good out of it.

We can speak from personal experience at Spend Matters that the GoTo family of products has been plagued with inconsistencies in performance, customer service challenges and general low levels of enthusiasm among all of our team members. Spend Matters switched this month from GoTo to two different webinar and conferencing/collaboration competitors after over a year of headaches. I guess you can say we’re going best of breed on this one!

Spinning off the equivalent of the conferencing cable company is probably a smart move from a brand and image perspective for Citrix. Making its products and customer service more competitive to the changing market will represent another set of challenges entirely for the newcomer, however.

In the meantime, and more important, we should applaud Tim’s work over the years in rallying the procurement cause and we wish him luck in doing for Citrix what he did for Procuri, Ariba and SAP. If he ever comes back to the sector as a CEO, CMO, investor or even a CPO — don’t rule out anything — there will be a large fan club waiting for him. But even on the sidelines, we suspect he’ll have some ideas and initiatives up his sleeves.

Congrats Tim!

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First Voice

  1. Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3:

    Congratulations to Tim!

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