Arista VP Gourlay leaves company

Looking for life after helping to take data center disruptor public


Doug Gourlay has left Arista Networks. The vice president of systems engineering is said by Arista PR to be exploring “life beyond Arista” but will be a consultant to the company:

Doug is a very talented executive and contributed greatly to Arista's success. We appreciate and thank him for his many contributions and respect his reasons to explore life beyond Arista. He will continue to serve as an executive consultant to the company.

In an e-mail exchange, Gourlay said his last day was Sept. 30. He said Arista is supportive of his decision and offered him the opportunity to return anytime he wants, but he is taking a few months off to survey the landscape for a “great engineering team and good culture” – outside of Ethernet switching:

I can assure you it won't be a switching company! (I don't think we will see more investment there for 10 years or so, and I couldn't compete with Arista!)

Gourlay joined Arista, which was founded in 2004, in June 2009 from Cisco, where he was vice president of data center product marketing and management. His main product areas were the Nexus and Catalyst switching lines, UCS servers, server load balancing, WAN optimization and storage networking. He had been at Cisco since 1998.

Arista went public earlier this year. Gourlay said he left to take some time off and have control over his Arista equity positions. But Arista is also embroiled in an infringement lawsuit with one of its founders.

Main reason was risk - as an exec at a public company there was not a lot of options to protect the value we all worked hard to create. As an outsider I have no financial visibilty into Arista's performance. I have ridiculous confidence in Arista, but it's the macro-issues I can't control or predict.

Gourlay, who was also an infantry officer in the US Army, nonetheless said leaving Arista was perhaps the hardest career decision he’s made.

Gourlay will not be replaced at Arista as the organizational structure there has been "flattened," according to a company spokesperson. His responsibilities will be assumed by Anshul Sadana, senior vice president for worldwide engineering.

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