OVH appoints Paulin as CEO

29 August 2018 | James Pearce

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Cloud services firm OVH has named former SFR chief Michel Paulin as its new chief executive officer.

Paulin spent almost a year and a half as CEO at Altice-owned French telecoms firm SFR, having joined from Morocco’s Meditel in April 2016. He also held senior roles at Neuf Cegetel – a French MVNO and wireline company bought by SFR in 2008 – and Xchanging.

Paulin will be tasked with leading cloud hosting company OVH as it executes its Smart Cloud, which aims to consolidate its position as an alternative leader in cloud to the larger operators, such as AWS, Microsoft and Google.

Paulin said: “It is a great honour for me to join OVH. I am looking forward to lead this team of 2,500 women and men on four continents, with its strong and unique culture of innovation at the service of its clients. I am delighted to work with Octave; everyone knows his vision, his entrepreneurial strength and his great humanity.”

He replaces founder Octave Klaba, who stepped back in as CEO in 2017 in order to drive the company’s growth strategy. Klaba will remain as chairman at the company he founded in 1999, along with three of his family members.

 As of 2018, OVH has 27 data centres in 19 countries hosting 300,000 servers. It made its first acquisition in Q2 2017, buying vCloudAir from VMware. It also expanded its presence by launching 12 new data centres in order to boost its reach in the US and in Asia Pacific regions.

Klaba commented: “With the benefit of his experience and his leadership, Michel Paulin will help us to accelerate the implementation of our new strategic plan - with him as CEO and myself as Chairman of the Board. I am convinced that his personal qualities, combined with the strong corporate culture of our teams, will ensure the group’s development.”