Equinix CEO Steve Smith resigns over ‘poor judgment’ on employee matter

data center racks
Equinix's CEO is stepping down due to the mishandling of an employee issue. (Getty/halbergman)

Equinix CEO Steve Smith has suddenly resigned due to his “exercising poor judgment with respect to an employee matter,” the data center provider said.

Smith will also step down from Equinix’s board of directors.

No other details were provided about what led Smith, an 11-year company veteran, to leave. Even California media outlets like The Mercury News could not get a comment on any specific issues related to Smith’s departure.

RELATED: Equinix, Digital Realty spent $19B on data center acquisitions between 2015-2017

Equinix’s board said in a release that in the best of interests of the company it had accepted his resignation.

Taking over for Smith on an interim basis will be Equinix’s executive chairman, Peter Van Camp, effective immediately. The board said it will begin a formal process to name a new CEO. Van Camp previously served as Equinix’s CEO from 2000 to 2007.

Van Camp said in a release that Smith “has worked hard to grow and sustain the business,” adding that “this action was not related to the company's operational performance or financial condition, both of which remain strong.”

With Smith at the helm, Equinix has been on a growth surge in recent years, expanding its data center holdings via organic activities and the acquisition of other large data center operations. Between 2015 and 2017, Synergy Research noted that Equinix made major acquisitions in all four regions of the world.

Some of Equinix’s high-profile deals include its $3.5 billion purchase of Verizon’s 29 data centers in 15 markets. The purchase, which closed in May 2017, extended Equinix’s North American footprint into two new markets, Houston and Culpeper, Virginia, and expanded its Latin American presence by adding a facility in Sao Paulo and Bogota, Colombia.

More recently, Equinix also struck a deal to acquire the Metronode group of companies, an Australian data center business, for about $792 million. This deal will immediately deepen Equinix’s presence in Australia’s data center market.

At the same time, Equinix has continued to strike partnerships with other cloud and service providers to enhance the availability of cloud and Ethernet services. Earlier this week, the data center provider struck a new agreement with AT&T in which it will offer the telco’s Switched Ethernet Service with Network on Demand available to businesses in Equinix International Business Exchange data centers.