GitHub, a start-up whose products software developers use to store and collaborate on code, on Thursday announced that its CEO, co-founder Chris Wanstrath, will step down.
Forbes reported earlier that Wanstrath had been planning to step down for a while. Around that time, he began speaking with investors, advisers, and friends about the long-term future of the company. “GitHub has a great brand and we have a great community,” Wanstrath says. “We could find someone really seasoned to take the CEO role and lead us for the next ten years, and we wouldn’t need to lose me.”
Wanstrath will remain on the board to help find his replacement, then will then become executive chairman of the company, which has more than 20 million users and $200 million in annualized recurring revenue.
“As GitHub approaches 700 employees, with more than $200M in ARR, accelerating growth, and more than 20 million registered users, I’m confident that this is the moment to find a new CEO to lead us into the next stage of growth,” Wanstrath said in a statement. ARR refers to annual recurring revenue, which measures revenue on an annualized basis based on current contracts.
Wanstrath had previously stepped down and let cofounder Tom Preston-Werner take the lead. But in early 2014, Preston-Werner moved to the President position, opening the way for Wanstrath to become CEO. A few months later GitHub launched an investigation into sexual harassment claims involving Preston-Werner, and Preston-Werner left the company.
Under Chris’ current tenure as CEO, GitHub has brought the enterprise version of its software to Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure clouds, and most recently the company introduced a Business service tier.
GitHub, which raised $250 million at a $2 billion valuation in 2015, is No. 22 on CNBC’s 2017 Disruptor 50 list.
“What we’ve accomplished over the past 10 years at GitHub has been mind-blowing, and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish over the next decade,” Wanstrath said.
Wanstrath says he’s interested in how GitHub can harness improvements in automation to help people who aren’t coders write software. “We talk a lot about how automation is eating all these other industries, but I don’t hear about how it’s changing software development. If we can give a little bit of intelligence to merge what’s been done, it can open the gates to hundreds of millions of more people,” he said.