PTC Succession Plan was a Succession Episode

In the HBO hit series, Succession, the CEO of a company that WayStar RoyCo was going to acquire, turns the tables, jump over everyone who thought they were next in line to succeed Logan Roy and secures the CEO post for himself.

It was a tale that played out in real life in our industry just last week when it was announced (titled “PTC Announces CEO Succession Plan,” no less) that Neil Barua, CEO of ServiceMax, acquired by PTC, was going to be the company’s next CEO, jumping over many a PTC executive who thought they had the inside track.

Nobody saw either the Succession or the PTC outcome coming. Lukas Matsson, usurper to the WayStar RoyCo throne, admitted his company, GoJo, had “questionable numbers.” It’s subscriptions in key geographies had been wildly inflated. Matsson was a Swede with a dot com. What did he know about America, the business of a media company. Barua, born of Indian parents, has a finance background. What does he know about design and engineering software? ServiceMax’s subscriptions may not be inflated but the last quarterly statements found (September 2021) show quarter after quarter of losses.

Yet, Logan Roy chose to pay a premium for a company that would expand his reach beyond it core businesses. Similarly, Jim Heppelmann, CEO of PTC, paid $1.46 billion for ServiceMax, about 10 times ServiceMax’s estimated annual revenue.

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