“I’m Not Going Anywhere” – RingCentral’s Co-Founder Speaks Out After CEO Transition

RingCentral’s stock tumbled when co-founder Vlad Shmunis vacated his CEO post last month

“I’m Not Going Anywhere” - RingCentral’s co-Founder Speaks Out After CEO Transition
Contact CentreNews Analysis

Published: August 30, 2023

Charlie Mitchell

On August 7, Vlad Shmunis announced his intention to vacate his post as CEO of RingCentral.

Shumnis, who co-founded RingCentral in 1999 from a garage, will hand the role over to Tarek Robbiati in September, who has served an eight-month stint as a board member.

24 hours after that announcement, RingCentral’s stock dropped 18 percent – from $38.98 to $31.80.

Perhaps this highlights skepticism over the replacement, who – despite an impressive record as CFO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Sprint – has only months of experience within the enterprise communications space.

Yet, Shumnis – who our sister publication, UC Today, even referred to as “The Godfather of UCaaS” – has moved to reassure customers, investors, and employees.

In an interview with analyst Zeus Kerravala, Shumnis reaffirmed his continued leadership of RingCentral. He stated:

I wouldn’t call it stepping down – or even aside – I’m just changing my focus from corporate governance and responsibility for running this $2.2BN organization.

“I want to be focusing more on tech, on innovation, on product marketing… I’m not going anywhere.”

Indeed, the move is not about allowing Shumnis more time on the golf course – it’s much more strategic.

After all, it comes at a time when customer experience vendors find themselves at a precarious crossroads. They must navigate the next tech megatrend – generative AI – while cutting back and focusing on managing profitable growth.

As such, Shumnis likely appointed Robbiati to leverage his vastly experienced financial mind while managing the momentous sea of change.

Over recent months, that has proven tricky for RingCentral. While it has stepped closer to profitability, its revenue growth has stuttered.

Indeed, it has fallen from 33 percent in Q1 2022 to 11 percent in Q2 2023.

Now, Shumnis has seemingly moved to get ahead of the curve without slamming the breaks on innovation. He added:

The focus here has been to get in a super high-end, proven operator, somebody who knows how to run multi-billion dollar businesses successfully and efficiently.

More than ever before, this appears crucial – as RingCentral recently made a series of exciting announcements to expand its business.

Innovation at RingCentral: The August Flurry

In heightening his focus on innovation, Shumnis declared that RingCentral is “very much setting up for the next chapter.”

“The stars have aligned,” he continued. “There are major megatrends forming (with generative AI). We haven’t seen that since two decades ago – or more. Not since ’99, when broadband came in, wireless came in, and that engendered the globalization of workforces.

Now, the world is being completely redefined, and we think there is this amazing opportunity to create the next true wave of innovation.

Already, the vendor has stepped towards this by launching its RingSense for Sales conversational analytics solution in March – with native generative AI.

In August, RingCentral followed this up with the release of RingSense for Phone – a tool that enables generative AI-generated summaries, call highlights, and keyword detection.

Alongside that announcement, it also teased RingCX, a new contact center platform – which “is going to be AI-centric and AI-driven,” stated Shumnis.

The CCaaS solution – set for launch later this year – targets SMBs and mid-market businesses. RingCentral will still recommend NICE CXone to many of its enterprise customers.

Finally, the vendor acquired Hopin Events, a virtual events platform once valued at $7BN.

Now, it’s worth much less. Yet, Shumnis confirmed: “We’re absolutely planning to rejuvenate that business.”

Some may pour scorn on that idea and the long-term future of a virtual events platform. Yet, the demand for hybrid events still exists, and the co-founder believes: “There is a huge opportunity to differentiate there.”

With all this in the space of weeks, it seems like the Godfather of UCaaS still has many more tricks up his sleeves – and stepping away from RingCentral is still many years away.



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