DEATHS

Edward Iacobucci, Citrix founder, dies of pancreatic cancer

 

jsimmons@MiamiHerald.com

Tech industry entrepreneur Edward Iacobucci, founder of the multinational software corporation Citrix Systems, died Friday morning of pancreatic cancer at his home in Boca Raton.

He was 59.

“He was a technological visionary,” said internet technology specialist Erich Steller, who worked with Iacobucci at Citrix and followed him to two other companies. “He helped revolutionize how we use Windows today.”

Iacobucci started his career as a young software engineer at IBM, but then did something bold and almost unheard of in the software world in 1989: he left, taking some of IBM’s software designers with him.

The software company they created, Citrix, became one of the nation’s most successful, bringing in about half a billion dollars in revenue by the time Iacobucci left in 2000.

“Back then it was like a felony to leave IBM voluntarily,” said Jeff Krantz, who met Iacobucci at IBM in 1985 and is now chief technology officer at VirtualWorks. “Ed always wanted to aim very high, and he was always very determined to achieve whatever was possible. He was always trying to do something that would change the business model, or change the way things are done in a big way.”

With Citrix, Krantz said, he did.

The Fort Lauderdale-based company’s software uses the Internet cloud to let people work collaboratively from different places, accessing company information just like they could if they were all in one office. It’s now used by more than 260,000 organizations and 100 million users around the world, according to the company’s website.

“He accelerated the move to the cloud computing 10 years before people even knew what cloud computing was,” said Krantz.

After Citrix, Iacobucci had quite a following, said Andy Stergiades, who followed Iacobucci from IBM to Citrix.

“He was a dreamer, an entrepreneur and a risk-taker,” said Stergiades. “With anyone like that, there are some successes and some failures.

Iacobucci’s next venture, an on-demand jet travel service called DayJet, didn’t make it, said Stergiades.

But the idea — car-sized airplanes that could zip people from one small airport to another, bypassing the big, slow hubs — captured people’s imaginations.

Colleagues called Iacobucci “George,” after the sci-fi cartoon character George Jetson, and Newsweek profiled him in 2005, naming him one of their “10 big thinkers for big business.”

After the travel company failed in 2008, Iacubucci moved back to software, becoming CEO of VirtualWorks Group.

Again his colleagues, including Steller, Krantz and Stergiades, went with him.

“We were all like little baby ducks following mama,” said Stergiades. “We were very confident in him and always wanted to be where he was.”

VirtualWorks created software that helped companies deal with “data sprawl,” the problem of having so much information it’s hard to tell what’s what and what’s where. He stayed with the company until May.

“Nobody didn’t want to work with Ed. Everybody wanted to work with Ed,” said Krantz. “He never believed there was something we couldn’t do.”

Edward E. Iacobucci was born in Buenos Aires and studied systems engineering at Georgia Tech Institute.

He is survived by his wife Nancy Lee Iacobucci, his mother Constantina Iacobucci, his brother Billy Iacobucci and his three children: Marianna Eden, William Iacobucci and Michelle Iacobucci.

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