Butta’s Exit Raises Marketing Questions
ATLANTA–The chief marketing director of Red Hat, a developer of Linux-based operating systems and software, has left the company.
Tom Butta, who joined Red Hat last summer to oversee marketing and hire an ad agency, “has left to pursue other opportunities,” said Melissa London, the company’s public relations director. Butta, previously president and chief executive officer of FGI in Chapel Hill, N.C., was unavailable for comment.
Industry observers said Butta’s departure raises questions about the Durham, N.C., firm’s dedication to marketing its product, which vies with Microsoft’s operating system.
Red Hat’s first agency, Farago + Partners, New York, created print work that was approved but never ran, said president Peter Farago. A second shop, Bayless/Cronin, Atlan-ta, did print ads that appeared in industry trades, but there has been no major branding effort. One source noted Red Hat has failed to capitalize on the recent monopoly judgment against Microsoft in not moving to establish itself as a brand.
“Let’s not confuse momentum with spending $25 million on an ad campaign,” London countered. “Red Hat is changing the way technology and services are delivered. We’re a technology company and that’s where our audience is. That’s where we need to grow our marketplace.”
London said that Red Hat’s marketing department is currently headed by Jack Oakes and Teresa Spangler, but that Butta would likely be replaced. She did not know whether the company would
continue its relationship with Bayless/Cronin.
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