Technology Visionary Edward Iacobucci Passes Away at 59 from Cancer

Pioneer of Thin-Client and Cloud Computing Changed How We Work

VirtualWorks Group co-founder and Chairman Edward E. Iacobucci passed away at his home this morning after a 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Iacobucci was a renowned technology pioneer and entrepreneur who co-founded Citrix.

Recipient of the 1998 Ernst & Young International Entrepreneur Award, Iacobucci was quoted as saying, “Every human being has his own vision of what’s happening in the future. I was lucky in that what I thought would happen did happen. When we know we can do it and the rest of the world doesn’t – that’s when things get interesting.”

“Ed’s clear vision of the technological future is becoming more of a reality every day,” stated Erik Baklid, VirtualWorks President and CEO. “His courage and entrepreneurial spirit were matched by his inclusive leadership style, warm heart and good humor. Ed will be deeply missed by the many employees, customers, partners and friends whose lives he touched.”
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Ed Iacobucci and we send our sincerest sympathies, thoughts and prayers to his family,” said Mark Templeton, President and CEO of Citrix Systems. “Ed’s spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity, passion and persistence will always remain at the core of Citrix. We are proud to carry his wondrous torch forward.”

Edward Iacobucci at Citrix
In the fall of 1998, Edward Iacobucci, the founder of Citrix Systems, Inc., a company based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL far from Silicon Valley, was awarded Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year in the Software and Information Services category. Before starting Citrix in 1989, Iacobucci was heading IBM’s operating system development team in Boca Raton, FL.

IBM and Microsoft were in a joint venture to co-develop OS/2, an application that was subsequently replaced by the Windows operating system. It was during the development of OS/2 that Iacobucci saw a way to allow any platform of computers to work with each other. This “thin-client” system required very little in the way of hardware function. Basically, any computer, through a thin-client system, could run high-end applications off of a server.

After getting turned down at IBM to develop a thin-client project, Iacobucci packed his bags and brought along a team of developers from IBM. They put together a business plan and raised $16 million from brand-name Silicon Valley-based venture capitalist firms like Sevin Rosen, Kleiner Perkins, and Mayfield. Less than two years later Citrix had 40 employees developing software. At the time of their 1995 initial public offering, they had 80 employees, almost $15 million in sales, and reached a market capitalization of $1.1 billion in 1996. By 2002, Citirx had 1,670 employees and $527.4 million in sales.

Iacobucci convinced a team of leading developers at IBM’s Boca Raton’s prestigious “Skunk Works” to leave. Andy Stergiades was one developer at IBM who followed said this about Iacobucci, “The way he thinks is very high and broad. He was kind of an entrepreneur even at IBM. An incredibly high caliber of people followed him without a lot of assurance. People wanted to make a real impact on the industry.”

Edward E. Iacobucci Biography
September 26, 1953 – June 21, 2013

Renowned technology visionary Edward E. Iacobucci died in his home on June 21, 2013, surrounded by his family. A man known in the business world for his tenacity, Ed fought a difficult, 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was born September 26, 1953 in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Dr. Guillermo and Costantina Iacobucci. His father, a biochemist, moved his family to the U.S. in 1940 to work for E.R. Squibb & Sons and then Coca-Cola. Roberto Goizueta, then Chairman of Coca-Cola, became a close friend of the family and Ed’s godfather. Both men, his father and Goizueta, strongly influenced Iacobucci’s business ethos.

Ed graduated from Georgia Tech Institute with a B.S. in systems engineering. A 30-year veteran of the technology industry, Iacobucci began his career at IBM in 1979 where he played a key role in Big Blue’s entry into the commercial software and personal computer business. While at IBM Iacobucci held architecture and design leadership responsibilities for IBM DOS and OS/2 and led the joint IBM-Microsoft design team that launched the modern era of multi-tasking personal computer operating systems.

Iacobucci left IBM to co-found Citrix Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTXS) and implement his vision of server-based computing. He led the company as chairman and chief technology officer through all of its market and product development phases. Under his leadership, Citrix grew rapidly and was named to both the Nasdaq 100 and S&P 500 in record time. In 1997, Iacobucci forged an unprecedented, five-year joint development agreement with Microsoft to include Citrix multi-user capabilities within Microsoft Windows NT Server. He served as Citrix chairman through 2000, when he retired to pursue his vision of Software-as-a-Service – flying aircraft.

In 2002, Iacobucci co-founded DayJet Corporation with the mission of bringing affordable, accessible Per-Seat, On-Demand jet travel to more people and more communities. He and his engineering team built a breakthrough computer system for solving highly-complex optimization problems for the world’s first true on-demand air service. The young company forged a five-year strategic agreement with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to pioneer the Next Generation of Air Transportation technologies. But after a successful launch in 2007, DayJet was forced to cease operations in 2008 when it was no longer able to secure its planned growth capital.

His most recent venture was VirtualWorks Group, a company he co-founded in 2009 to tackle data sprawl – an outgrowth of the information age that he helped to create. Ed served as President and CEO until May 20, 2013 when he stepped down for health reasons.

In 1998, he was recognized as the top entrepreneur in the world with the prestigious CNN, USA Today, and Ernst & Young “International Entrepreneur of the Year” award. In 2005, Newsweek included him in its list of “10 Big Thinkers for Big Business,” and in 2007 Iacobucci was named to Business 2.0 magazine’s list of the “50 Who Matter Now.”

Ed sat on the Engineering advisory board for Georgia Institute of Technology. He served as a technology judge at the state and national level for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, and he was active in Junior Achievement at the local, state and national levels. His hobbies include boating, photography and horse breeding.

He is survived by his wife, Nancy Lee (Iacobucci); his three children, Marianna (Eden), William (Iacobucci), and Michelle (Iacobucci); mother, Costantina (Iacobucci); brother, Billy (Iacobucci); and three grandchildren, Sophia, Haven and Estelle.

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About VirtualWorks
Founded in 2009 by Citrix co-founder Ed Iacobucci, VirtualWorks lets businesses easily and securely access all their information no matter where it resides. By helping to eliminate data sprawl, the ViaWorks family of content virtualization software significantly improves worker productivity. The company is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida and has regional offices in Norway and Sweden.

SOURCE: VirtualWorks, Global Entrepreneurship Institute