Steve Smith quits as Equinix CEO over ‘poor judgment’

Steve Smith has resigned suddenly as CEO of Equinix for what is described as “exercising poor judgment with respect to an employee matter”.

Equinix has done no more to elaborate on the reason, and the company has promoted a business-as-usual message by replacing Smith with executive chairman Peter Van Camp as interim CEO.

Even the local media around Redwood City has not been able to find out more. No one has said who the employee was or what the “poor judgment” refers to. Even the local Mercury News, often well informed on Silicon Valley events, could throw no further light on the matter.

Smith had been expected to take part in the Pacific Telecommunications Council (PTC) conference in Hawaii, which finished yesterday. Bevan Slattery, founder and chairman of Superloop and Megaport, took Smith’s place on a panel with Bill Barney, CEO of Global Carrier Xchange, and Carl Grivner, CEO of Colt.

Van Camp – who was CEO from 2000 to 2007 – said in the official press release, issued on Thursday night, that “this action was not related to the company’s operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong”.

Equinix has started to process of finding a successor to Smith, who was CEO of the company for 11 years. He joined from Hewlett-Packard in 2007 when Equinix’s revenues were $419 million. Revenues are now $4.35 billion. Last year he told Capacity that Equinix has 9,500 customers worldwide, both cloud and network providers.

The company said that the “board of directors, in the best interests of the company, has accepted his resignation”, but it gave no more information.

Van Camp “has remained highly engaged in the day-to-day business and has played an active role in every major decision the company has made”, said Equinix last night. He will continue to be executive chairman.

Van Camp added: “The company is well positioned strategically, with tremendous depth at the leadership level and a passionate team that will guide the business and continue to drive the performance of the company.”

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