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On July 27, PTC announced that Neil Barua, president of PTC’s Service Lifecycle Management business, will succeed James Heppelmann as PTC’s chief executive officer at the company’s annual meeting in February 2024. At the same time, Heppelmann will step down as CEO and retire. This will not only mark the end of his 26-year tenure at PTC, 13 of them as CEO. It marks the end of an era.

Effective immediately, James Heppelmann is appointed Chairman of the Board and Neil Barua is appointed CEO designate and a member of PTC’s Board of Directors.

When Bob Schechter, Chairman of PTC’s Board of Directors for the past eight years, stated, “Neil is the ideal person to lead PTC into its next chapter. He is an experienced technology leader with a proven track record of growing software companies” – he is also saying that apparently the time is ending when the CEO of a leading industrial software provider also needed to know what the company’s products needed to be able to do to help the industry meet its challenges.

Jim Heppelmann was a visionary in industrial software. Neil Barua was CEO of ServiceMax, a provider in the cloud-native, product-centric field service management software space acquired by PTC in January 2023.

Jim Heppelmann (left) und Niel Barua (Photo PTC)

Prior to that, he was an Operating Partner at Silver Lake, an investor in technology companies. Prior to Silver Lake, Barua was CEO of IPC Systems, a global provider of specialized technology solutions to the financial services industry. Neil Barua holds a B.S. in Finance & Economics from NYU Stern School of Business. One looks in vain for any in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing industry and its particular digital transformation requirements on his resume.

The credits to the press release state, “Neil Barua has an extensive background in the technology industry and a proven track record of growing businesses.” We’ll have to wait and see if that’s enough to lead PTC into another phase of success.