Andrew Anagnost “So Excited to be Autodesk’s Next CEO”; Other Interim Co-CEO Amar Hanspal Departs the Company


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“Our products are the products everyone wants to use,” says new Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost.

Following the announcement of longtime CEO Carl Bass’ resignation back in February, and the Board of Directors’ four-month-long search for the next chief executive, today the company has announced his successor.

“The board and I are delighted that Andrew will lead Autodesk into its next stage of growth. Andrew has been instrumental in the development and execution of Autodesk’s successful business model transition, and with his leadership, we are confident that our move to the cloud and subscription will continue to be successful,” said Crawford W. Beveridge, Chairman of the Board of Autodesk.

Autodesk President and CEO Andrew Anagnost

Andrew Anagnost has been with Autodesk since 1997 and brings more than 25 years of experience in product, business, and marketing to the table. Upon Bass’ resignation in February, Anagnost added to the mantles of the CMO title he had carried since October 2016, and Senior Vice President of Business Strategy and Marketing since January 2012, that of Co-CEO. Today Autodesk announces Anagnost as the President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as joining the Board as a Director.

With a background additionally including career positions at Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Company and EXA Corporation, work as an NRC post-doctoral fellow at NASA AMES Research Center, and degrees from California State University (Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering) and Stanford University (Master of Science, Engineering Science; PhD, Aeronautical Engineering and Computer Science), Anagnost brings a broad swathe of experience to the helm of this industry-leading company.

“I have worked closely with Andrew over the past 20 years, and I know he will be a great leader for Autodesk. His contributions and dedication to the company, our employees, and customers have been immeasurable. I look forward to working with him from my seat on the board and can’t wait to see where he takes Autodesk in the future,” said former CEO and Board Director Bass of the appointment.

Anagnost shares his thoughts directly in a video directed to Autodesk employees, technology users, and partners:

Well aware of the existing legacy of innovation at Autodesk — he notes that the company was the first to the cloud and the first to employ a subscription model — Anagnost notes several items that one would want to hear from a big name company’s new executive leader. In addition to already having several ideas for new moves in the works, he explains clearly that he looks forward to receiving and acting upon input from users, all 8,000+ of them, regarding “what you love” along with “what you want to improve,” all for what he sees as a collaborative mission: “Let’s go out and make a better world together.”

“For 20 years, I’ve watched Autodesk innovate and grow into the company it is today and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together,” Anagnost writes in a letter on the company’s next chapter. “But our success isn’t based on a single product, business strategy, or sales win—it’s a result of the collective efforts of all of you, our diverse and global team. With your passion, ideas, and skills, we are ready to grow in incredible new ways.”

Autodesk has been increasingly transparent lately in strategy, as we recently followed the company’s roadmap for its popular Fusion 360 software and saw first-hand the work being done in some projects, such as in aircraft seating, and in collaborations for work bringing additive manufacturing to yachts and propellers. The company has shown that it is keen to respond to realistic feedback, and is embracing its position as a software company, not a hardware endeavor, though it has dabbled in creating its own 3D printer (now discontinued, but with files still available) and continues to work alongside 3D printer manufacturers on some big projects.

Autodesk at RAPID + TCT 2017 [Photo: Sarah Goehrke]

“Autodesk’s history has been defined by periods of both product innovation and business execution. We began with a clear goal to transform how design was documented, brought 3D design to the broader market, and then became a respected technology leader. We were first to bring design to the cloud, to mobile, and to subscription—and now we’re bringing innovation to the world of making,” his letter continues.

“The next era of Autodesk is not defined by product or business innovation—but in their combination.  We must excel at both, all in the service of our customers. To ensure their success, and ours, we will improve not only our product experience, but also our customer experience.  And we will continue to deliver incredible tools that customers can use to make a better world.”

Amar Hanspal, Former Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer

Still, as we know that executive leadership is never without some upheaval and upset, Anagnost notes as well the departure of another longtime member of the Autodesk executive team. Along with Anagnost, Amar Hanspal was heading the Interim Office as Co-CEO in the aftermath of Bass’ departure. Hanspal, the company’s Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer, will no longer be with Autodesk, following work with the company in customer support and project management positions between 1987 and 1999, and rejoining from 2002 until his just-announced departure. During his more recent tenure, Hanspal worked with such projects as the 2015 introduction of cloud-based Forge, signing an MoU with Dubai on behalf of the Spark Investment Fund, and presenting the company’s vision at Autodesk University, among many other initiatives and activities.

With the tumult of a new CEO, departure of a long-term executive, and all that goes along with the shuffle in corporate structure, Anagnost is looking to interim appointments to keep business activities afloat.

“Regretfully, Amar Hanspal has decided to leave the company,” Anagnost shares. “As many of you know, Amar and I have shared countless experiences and tackled great challenges together; I’m truly sad to see him leave. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation for his 30 years of service and all that he’s done to make Autodesk, our team, and our products great. With Amar’s departure and my new role, I’ve asked Scott Reese to be the acting leader of the Product Development Group and Lisa Campbell to be the acting leader of Business Strategy & Marketing. I recognize that it’s very difficult to say goodbye to a leader we have valued and respected for many years. I understand that, and I look forward to working closely with you and Autodesk leadership on a smooth transition.”

These appointments and the restructuring seen at Autodesk seem to fit right in to 2017 overall, as this year has seen some major executive shuffling among the ranks of well-known companies working in the 3D printing industry. Just last week, GE announced the upcoming departure of its CEO as well as his successor, while in April Organovo announced its own CEO changeover. Discuss in the Autodesk forum at


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