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New 8x8 CEO expected to improve business operations

Video conferencing company 8x8 selects former RingCentral COO Dave Sipes to replace outgoing CEO Vik Verma. Analysts expect Sipes to significantly improve 8x8 business operations.

Former RingCentral COO Dave Sipes will become the new 8x8 CEO, a move that brings a leader with proven strengths in effectively managing business operations to the video conferencing and call center company, analysts said.

It was announced last week that Sipes will replace outgoing CEO Vik Verma. Sipes oversaw RingCentral's business operations as revenue grew from $10 million to $1 billion in 12 years.

Dave SipesDave Sipes

"It was the smart choice," said Zeus Kerravala, founder and analyst at ZK Research. "They need an execution person, and Sipes led [RingCentral] through its biggest years of growth."

Verma did well with product development, but he was weak in sales and marketing, analysts said. Sipes will likely energize the latter.

"They were doing really well on the product side," said 451 Research analyst Raul Castanon of 8x8. "Now they really need to balance that out."

During Verma's tenure, 8x8 updated its communications platform by acquiring video conferencing company Jitsi in 2018 and communications-platform-as-a-service provider Wavecell a year later. In 2017, the company bought Sameroom for its messaging tool that was interoperable with apps from different vendors.

Sipes's experience with several RingCentral partnerships could prove useful in bolstering sales operations as the new 8x8 CEO, Castanon said. RingCentral partnered with Avaya last year and Atos and Alcatel-Lucent this year to bring its UCaaS offering to companies still using its partners' legacy on-premises UC products.

"What gets my attention the most is the trajectory in the last two or three years in terms of what RingCentral did with partners on the business side," Castanon said. "[Sipes] was not the only one involved in that, but he was probably very influential in that strategy."

Sipes' initial challenges as 8x8 CEO include reversing the company's slowing revenue growth during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the small and medium-size businesses upon which 8x8 relies were hit hard economically.

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