Equinix Imports New Executive Leadership from Ranks of Cloud Data Center Giants, Women

March 13, 2024
Seeing one of the internet age's formative and still most-relevant colocation and interconnection data center operators making a habit of appointing seasoned female leaders to crucial C-suite executive posts is refreshing.

For avid data center industry watchers, news that Equinix is importing C-suite executive leaders from likes of Google Cloud and Microsoft is a bit like hearing that your favorite sports franchise is importing talent and guidance from the league's Dream Teams.

That the two executives in question both happen to be women of considerable stature and expertise in the industry just amplifies that sense. 

Seeing one of the internet age's formative and still most-relevant colocation and interconnection data center operators making a habit of appointing female leaders to such crucial executive posts is refreshing, in terms of observing colocation and hyperscale data center industry titans meaningfully executing on well-espoused and vital DEI principles in the 21st century. 

In a leadership succession plan announced yesterday, Equinix stated that its present CEO, Charles Meyers, would move to the role of Executive Chair, while selecting Google Cloud executive Adaire Fox-Martin as its next CEO.

This announcement follows news in February that Microsoft and Intel veteran Merrie Williamson would join Equinix as its Chief Customer and Revenue Officer (CCRO), with a mandate to propel the company's Private AI business.


CEO Leadership Transition

An Equinix statement said the planned CEO leadership transition wil become effective in late Q2 2024.

The company's current President and CEO, Charles Meyers, will be transitioning to the advisory role of Executive Chairman, while Google Cloud Go-to-Market President Adaire Fox-Martin will begin serving as Equinix President and CEO. 

With more than 25 years of experience in the technology sector, Fox-Martin brings a distinguished data center industry resume, most recently serving as President of Go-to-Market for Google Cloud. In this role, she led Google Cloud's go-to-market teams globally, encompassing sales, professional services, partner ecosystem, and customer success. 

Fox-Martin has been a member of the Equinix board of directors since 2020. Prior to Google, she held senior global positions at some of the world's foremost technology and software companies, notably SAP and Oracle. At SAP, she played a pivotal role as a member of the SAP Executive Board, with responsibility for sales and service globally, serving more than 440,000 customers. 

Her extensive global leadership experience includes serving as President for SAP Asia Pacific and Japan, President of Google Cloud International, and most recently, Head of Google Ireland.

Fox-Martin said: "In today's dynamic digital landscape, Equinix has uniquely amassed global reach, highly differentiated ecosystems, strong partner relationships, and an innovative range of product and service offerings -- collectively forming a robust and future-proofed platform to address diverse customer challenges. Coupled with my passionate belief in the vision, mission and values of Equinix, I am excited to leverage my experience in driving business transformations and building for scale to drive continued innovation and growth at Equinix."

Also in the leadership transition, Peter Van Camp, currently Equinix Executive Chairman, will step away from his formal responsibilities as a board member to take the role of Special Advisor to the Board.

"I am very proud of the work that our board has put into our succession planning and delighted to have landed on a path that is highly responsive to the needs of the business and those of our leadership," said Van Camp. 

He added: "Charles has been a driving force at Equinix for the past 14 years and this transition enables his continued involvement while also adding Adaire's significant depth and breadth of experience. At this critical juncture in the company's history, it is a great outcome for all of our stakeholders. We have had tremendous success with our leadership model and as I step into an advisory role with the company and hand the Executive Chairman role to Charles, I do so with immense optimism that this executive team will enable us to unlock the enormous opportunity ahead."

Charles Meyers joined Equinix in 2010 and was appointed CEO of the company in 2018. During his tenure, he shaped the company's successful strategy, extending Platform Equinix to more than 70 data center markets across 33 countries, while accelerating the company's global interconnection leadership and evolving the platform to support hybrid and multi-cloud as the clear architecture of choice. 

Over this time, as noted by the Equinix statement, the company has enjoyed a 6x increase in revenue and added more than $80 billion in equity value. Meyers will continue in the role of CEO until late Q2 and will remain focused until that time on driving the company's strategy and execution.

"Digital transformation is reshaping the basis of competition for industries across the globe, and the rapid adoption of AI is accelerating that dynamic," said Meyers. "These pivotal shifts have created an extraordinary demand environment for digital infrastructure, and our distinctive advantages create an exceptional long-term opportunity for Equinix."

Meyers continued: "I am confident that Adaire's capabilities and experience will be deeply additive to our team and our culture, helping us meet the evolving needs of our customers, fuel our growth and unlock the extraordinary power of Platform Equinix. I am grateful to our board for their support of my desired transition timeline, and excited to assume the Executive Chairman role and actively support Adaire as she leverages her tremendous global experience to extend and expand our market leadership."

Microsoft, Intel Veteran Merrie Williamson Joins Equinix as CCRO with AI Focus

In February, Equinix announced its appointment of Merrie Williamson as Executive Vice President and Chief Customer and Revenue Officer (CCRO), effective March 25. 

With more than 20 years of experience in helping companies evolve their digital business through her leadership roles at Microsoft and Intel, Williamson joins Equinix as the company continues to emphasize the growth of its leading position among the most trusted and comprehensive platforms for enterprise digital transformation.

Equinix said that as CCRO, Williamson will be responsible for the company's entire customer experience and overall go-to-market strategy. This mandate includes the areas of sales, marketing, customer care and experience, revenue operations, and the company's regional management across its Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific operations. 

Additionally in the role, Equinix said that Williamson "will have the opportunity to leverage the company's technology leadership and partner ecosystem to generate exceptional customer experiences and enable businesses to capitalize on emerging areas such as Private AI."

"For years, Equinix has played an important role in providing the digital infrastructure critical for enterprises as their businesses become increasingly digital," said Williamson. "As we enter the age of AI and multicloud as the architecture of choice, I am thrilled to be part of the platform that is enabling the success of thousands of companies globally. In addition to the world-class services it provides, Equinix also has a compelling vision where technology and company culture combine to drive outstanding business outcomes."

Williamson previously served as Corporate Vice President of Azure Infrastructure and Digital and Application Innovation at Microsoft. In this role, she was responsible for commercial sales strategy and execution for the core multibillion-dollar Azure business, leading a global team enabling customers across segments, industries and geographies to reap the benefits of digital transformation and the cloud.

Before joining Microsoft in 2019, Williamson spent two decades at Intel. Through a succession of increasingly senior roles, from technical program manager to senior director of data center sales and marketing, she drove strategic product investments from inception to launch (typically in emerging areas of the business) and brought together internal stakeholders, external partners and sales teams to drive revenue growth.

Williamson is passionate about service and community. She has served on the boards of MESA (STEM pipeline for Seattle underrepresented schools) and the Seattle YMCA, where she also spent two years as chairperson. She is dedicated to creating opportunities for women and other underrepresented communities in STEM, sales and the technology industry overall. She earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial Science at the University of Michigan.

Williamson will serve on the Equinix Executive Staff reporting to the company's CEO. 

"Merrie is an operational and visionary leader with the unique skills and experience to help drive the next chapter of our growth and the increasing value we provide to customers," said Charles Meyers, outgoing President and CEO of Equinix. "She also has extensive experience aligning complex go-to-market (GTM) organizations to deliver revenue growth. Her proven track record positions her well to build new routes to market, strengthen existing revenue streams, and continue our journey to becoming a true platform company."

The Equinix announcements received general and enthusiatic approbation from Equinix executive stakeholders. As perhaps best expressed in a LinkedIn post by recent DCF Show podcast guest Steve Madden, Equinix VP of Digital Transformation & Segmentation Marketing:

"Exciting times with Adaire Fox-Martin joining from Google, and being an Equinix board member for the last 4 years, she totally gets us and is positioned well for CEO! Combine this news with the Merrie Williamson announcement in February - as the new CCRO of Equinix - coming to us from Azure, and that Charles didn't leave. Like I said: Exciting times!"

More from Equinix:


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About the Author

Matt Vincent

A B2B technology journalist and editor with more than two decades of experience, Matt Vincent is Editor in Chief of Data Center Frontier.

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