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Cloud Expo: Article

Akamai Elects Company Co-Founder and Chief Scientist as New CEO

Dr. Tom Leighton will succeed Paul Sagan as CEO of Akamai effective January 1, 2013

The Akamai Board of Directors announced Monday that Dr. Tom Leighton will succeed Paul Sagan as CEO of Akamai effective January 1, 2013. Sagan announced earlier this year that he intended to step down as chief executive by the end of 2013. Leighton and Sagan will remain Akamai directors, and Sagan will become a senior advisor to the company, working with the new CEO on business strategy and to ensure a smooth management transition.

Since co-founding Akamai in 1998, Dr. Leighton has been responsible for Akamai's technology vision and has been one of the principal architects of the company's strategic direction while serving as Chief Scientist, as a member of Akamai's senior executive team, and on the Board of Directors. He is a renowned Internet technologist and has been a key driver of Akamai's transformation from Internet startup to leading cloud infrastructure services platform. He has played a major role in charting the course for many of Akamai's key product innovations, strategic accomplishments, and technological breakthroughs, from site and application acceleration to Web security and cloud infrastructure services.

"Akamai is extremely fortunate to have such an outstanding executive with Tom's business and technology experience to lead Akamai's next phase of growth," said Sagan. "He is an innovator with a deep understanding of the shifting landscape in public and private clouds, distributed computing platforms, and Internet security. Tom has earned the trust and respect of our customers, partners, employees, and shareholders through his hard work and vision over the past 14 years. He is supported by a highly experienced management team, and I join in the Board's unanimous support and confidence in Tom's ability to continue driving Akamai forward."

"We've made tremendous progress building Akamai by developing innovative cloud infrastructure services while continuing to grow our content delivery services," said Leighton. "I am proud of what we have accomplished as a team, but I'm even more excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, driven by the pervasive use of the Internet in today's hyperconnected world. Akamai is extremely well positioned to offer innovative new solutions on our unique Intelligent Platform that are designed to help our customers succeed by harnessing the power of cloud computing, mobile solutions, online video, and big data, all while protecting their business from the increasing threat of cyber attacks."

The company announced in April that it was starting an independent director-led search to name a new CEO to succeed Sagan, who has served as CEO since 2005. Under his leadership, the company surpassed $1 billion dollars in annual revenue, completed numerous strategic acquisitions, and emerged as a leader in Internet performance and cloud infrastructure services. "Working with Paul for more than a decade has been a tremendous experience," said Leighton, "and I look forward to continuing to collaborate closely with him in the future."

"When we began evaluating our options for the next CEO of Akamai, our objective was simply to have the best possible leadership team in place for continued growth and innovation in the years ahead, and that's what we're doing with Tom's appointment," explained Martin Coyne II, Lead Director of Akamai's Board. "We conducted an exhaustive review of the company's strategy and opportunities as we evaluated a broad range of potential candidates. We are confident that naming Tom is the best and most natural evolution of management responsibility at Akamai."

George H. Conrades, Chairman of the Akamai Board, added, "Innovation has been fundamental to Akamai's success from the beginning and will be even more so in the future. Tom has led Akamai's focus on innovation since day one, working directly with customers and partners on breakthrough technologies for leveraging the power of distributed computing. As a Board, we are excited about Akamai's prospects for delivering even greater customer value under Tom's leadership. We also are extremely grateful for Paul's outstanding contributions to Akamai's success and his sterling record of accomplishment that built Akamai into an S&P 500 company. We are delighted that he will continue in an active role supporting Tom and the entire leadership team."

Prior to founding Akamai, Leighton was a Professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT and a member of MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL). Dr. Leighton holds numerous patents involving content delivery, Internet protocols, network algorithms, distributed computing, cryptography, and digital rights management. From 2003 to 2005, Dr. Leighton served on the President's Information Technology Advisory Committee (PITAC), during which time he chaired the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity. Dr. Leighton is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Academy of Sciences.

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