First year as CEO for David J. Henshall

Last summer, the Citrix board appointed David J. Henshall as president and chief executive officer in an attempt to reimagine the entire company and accelerate its cloud transformation. The decision to part ways with Kirill Tatarinov after only 18 months was unexpected and shook the Citrix community around the world. Now, 365 days later, let’s take a look at what has been achieved under his tenure.

A lot has happened over the past 12 months; let’s dive in and take a closer look at the accomplishments Citrix has achieved under Henshall’s leadership.


Year of transformation

The first year of the Henshall era could be referred to as the year of transformation. In an effort to streamline its business, Citrix brought about many changes, ranging from its product portfolio to its structure and organization.

Raleigh, NC

To start, Henshall had to take the difficult but necessary decision to cut the workforce in order to transform multiple business units. Citrix announced massive layoffs and office consolidation in October 2017, and it is believed to be doing smaller staff reductions right now. But—Citrix is also hiring! Jeroen van Rotterdam, SVP at Citrix announced in June 2018 that the company is hiring 350 software engineers and 175 interns in 2019. It’s also worth noting that Citrix is still an independent company and hasn’t been acquired. Many, including me, were concerned by Henshall’s appointment at the time and were afraid that it would ultimately result in the sale of the company. Henshall is a longtime Citrite and he has demonstrated that the company holds a lot of meaning for him.


Portfolio overhaul

Regarding its portfolio, Citrix rebalanced investments and sunset certain products, starting by the announcement last year of the end of Octoblu, the switch to cloud development for XenMobile and focus on enterprise customers for ShareFile. This year, Citrix introduced its vision for the future of work and presented its plan to rebrand itself to unify its portfolio around Citrix Workspace. This controversial plan marked the end of many of the highly-recognized brands including the Xen family, NetScaler, ShareFile, Receiver, etc.

Old nameNew name
Cedexis Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management
Citrix Provisioning ServiceCitrix Provisioning
Citrix Receiver Citrix Workspace App
Citrix Workspace ServiceCitrix Workspace
Citrix Workspace Suite Citrix Workspace
Citrix XenApp Citrix Virtual Apps
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktopCitrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop ServiceCitrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
Citrix XenDesktopCitrix Virtual Desktops
Citrix XenMobile Citrix Endpoint Management
ShareFile Citrix Content Collaboration
StoreFront StoreFront (on-prem only)
XenServerCitrix Hypervisor
Old nameName
NetScaler ADC Citrix ADC
NetScaler AppFirewall Citrix Web App Firewall
NetScaler Access Gateway Citrix Gateway
NetScaler Management and Analytics SystemCitrix Application Delivery Management
NetScaler SD-WAN Citrix SD-WAN
NetScaler Secure Web Gateway Citrix Secure Web Gateway
NetScaler Unified GatewayCitrix Gateway
NetScaler Web App SecurityCitrix Web App Firewall

At this time, Citrix is still trying to figure out how to roll out this new brand seamlessly, and we are seeing the first rocky glimpse of this evolution with the tech preview of Citrix Workspace App. Joe Harder, a fellow CTP and Senior Virtualization Technologist, published an excellent article about the confusion around Citrix Workspace ecosystem. Last but not least, Citrix made the first acquisition under Henshall’s leadership by acquiring Cedexis, “a real-time, data-driven service for dynamically optimizing the flow of traffic across public clouds, data centers, CDNs, and ISPs.” The product has since been renamed and is now known as Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management.


The Future of Work: Simplifying the message

The future of work is a common theme across all EUC vendors. What is Citrix’s vision?

Well, it is all about existing technologies and products bundled together within the Workspace. Citrix believes that the future is to move away from several products by integrating them into one end-to-end solution. They are implementing this new strategy by aggregating any type of application (SaaS, web, mobile, desktop, files, etc), from any provider, that works from anywhere, with any device. All of this must be delivered in the simplest and easiest way for the customers.

Workspace is Citrix’s key component in this vision to integrate everything into one unique experience seamlessly across mobile, web and desktop. On top of that, Citrix released new cloud-only products like Citrix Analytics and Cloud Control, which aim to provide better control and visibility for customers in a single and simplified web console. Citrix Analytics is an exciting new product that helps monitor user behavior and detect anomalies with a built-in machine learning technology. A lot has been promised by Citrix with Workspace. We believe that Citrix Workspace is a truly impressive end-to-end solution and that Citrix will deliver the most advanced user-experience to increase productivity.


Hybrid Cloud is The New Cloud

Henshall on Stage during Synergy 2018
Henshall on Stage during Synergy 2018

David mentioned to me during our interview last year that Citrix is 100% behind the hybrid cloud model. That was a big switch from the Citrix of Kirill Tatarinov. The company now understands that Cloud-only does not work, and that on-prem workloads will remain for many years. David even mentioned during his keynote at Synergy 2018 that 90% of on-premises workloads will remain in the next 5 years. Citrix is dedicated to give “customers flexibility and choice to work any way they need for their organization,” said David when he was appointed.

Citrix has to follow the industry trends and develop its services to be available in the cloud. But at the same time, the company has to keep its customers happy or they will go somewhere else.

During our discussion, Henshall also said that Citrix has always been a “partner-centric organization” and the company kept that vision at Synergy 2018 with the announcement of an extended partnership with Google Cloud to give customers the choice of public cloud.


Citrix Synergy 2018: Back to the good stuff

The highest point of Henshall’s first year was at Synergy which, according to him is his favorite event of the year. David Henshall is a Synergy veteran; one of the few who has been taking part in every Synergy event ever. The popular Citrix event was in California this year, and Henshall nailed it. Last year, Synergy 2017 was boring and Citrix was forcing its Security pitch on its customers.

David Henshall at Citrix Synergy 2018 (Courtesy of Citrix)
David Henshall at Citrix Synergy 2018 (Courtesy of Citrix)

This year was completely different. The main keynote was inspiring and full of interesting announcements as Henshall and his team showcased new products and integrations. The message was clear, relatable and exciting, and the delivery almost perfect. Citrix was often shouted down for showing new products or features at Synergy that were still in development and taking forever to release them. This time, all announcements made at Synergy were presented to be ready to hit market and be available within 90 days. For now, there is still 30 days for Citrix to keep that promise and release the new products as announced.


Reorganization at all levels

The company added new people to its board of directors with Moira A. Kilcoyne joining from Morgan Stanley few weeks ago, and Ajei S. Gopal from ANSYS, Inc. back in September 2017. Mark Ferrer was appointed Executive Vice President. Citrix also appointed Drew Del Matto as new Chief Financial Officer. Drew replaced Mark Coyle, who had served as Citrix’s Interim CFO since July 2017.

The Citrix community was also reorganized under Ron Oglesby’s leadership in October 2017 including Citrix Technology Professionals, Citrix Technology Advocates and Citrix User Group Communities. More changes are expected within the community programs this year.


Show me the numbers!

We have to talk about numbers when we discuss the past year. You can find Citrix’s performance for the past 5 quarters below. (David Henshall was appointed just before the announcement of Q2 earning results in August 2017.) Q4 results were negatively impacted by the reorganization by as much as $100M.

Citrix financial results for the last 5 quarters
Citrix financial results for the last 5 quarters

For the first quarter of fiscal year 2018, Citrix achieved revenue of $697M, representing a modest but better than usual 5% revenue growth. Subscription revenue (Citrix Cloud) reached an all-time high at 15% of total revenue, which is great improvement when so much of your focus is in that area. Q2 earnings are just about less than 1 month away, and we will see if Henshall’s strategies are coming to fruition.

Additionally, Citrix started the process to repatriate more than $2B in overseas profits through repurchasing common stock. The company already proceeded with 2 steps of the repurchase. The first step started in November last year with Citibank, and the second occured in February 2018 with Goldman Sachs.

Citrix Stock - Last 12 months
Citrix Stock – Last 12 months

Furthermore, Citrix stock is catching fire since David Henshall was appointed, with a 34.39% growth in the past year. This could be related to the current state of the US economy, but still, Citrix has outperformed the Nasdaq growth, which is currently at 25.55% for the past year.


Giving back to the community and support to LGBTQ

Citrix is proud to have a home in Raleigh and is working to improve the life of its community with the announcement of Citrix Cycle, Raleigh’s bike sharing program.


With David Henshall in charge, Citrix continues to value all employees and is a leader in diversity efforts. The company shows its support for LGBTQ and for the second year in a row, Citrix received a perfect score (100%) on the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Corporate Equality Index.


David Henshall nailed his first year

David Henshall had a good first year leading Citrix, and his grounded approach to the business is working well for the company. Citrix finally has a clear and comprehensive vision with Citrix Workspace. Most products from the portfolio have been integrated with Workspace or are being integrated. Overall, the new version of Workspace has been well-received and acclaimed by customers, many of whom have mentioned that they are eager to play with it.

For many years, customers have felt that Citrix abandoned them because they were not ready to jump in the cloud boat, but that is over! Citrix is accompanying those that can’t make the switch to the cloud yet, and even has some hybrid products such as Site Aggregation for Citrix Workspace to allow customers to leverage Citrix Cloud features while keeping their workloads on-premises.


What to expect for Year 2?

Citrix is expected to release Workspace next-gen in the next 30 days, and with it a major overhaul of Citrix Cloud to consolidate and bring all services together. Citrix Analytics will also be included in the Workspace package. There is a lot left to do in Citrix Cloud to make it easier to use, but Citrix is getting there.

It is also expected that Citrix will continue the work around Citrix Workspace Hub, which allows users to cast—with a single swipe—displays to different screens. Citrix is also expected to give customers the choice of clouds by extending all its Cloud services to the major public cloud providers. For example, Quick Deploy is currently only available on Microsoft Azure but it is expected to be extended to AWS, Oracle Cloud and Google Cloud soon. We are eager to see what’s coming next for Citrix under Henshall’s leadership.