Why We Moved Our HQ: Q&A with ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman

1/15/14Follow @bvbigelow

In a development that was widely expected, but not officially disclosed (until now), the cloud-based IT service provider ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) has moved its headquarters to Santa Clara, CA, from San Diego, where the company was founded.

ServiceNow CEO Frank Slootman confirmed the move in a recent e-mail exchange with Xconomy.

The move wasn’t exactly a secret. Tom Clancy, chairman of the local industry group Software San Diego, told me he knew that ServiceNow had relocated its headquarters last year. In any event, Slootman agreed to explain his reasons for making the move. His responses to my questions have been lightly edited for readability:

Xconomy: When did you consolidate ServiceNow’s executive offices in Santa Clara?

Frank Slootman: The decision was formalized in Q4 2013.

Xconomy: Why did you move?

FS: The company grew more Northern California-centric as we expanded operations dramatically in the past 3 years. We have had a ferocious appetite for talent and we felt constrained on talent quantity, diversity, and quality in Southern California. My management team and I both had a limited history in San Diego, and we naturally gravitated to our Northern California networks for recruiting and staffing. Most of our directors also now reside in Northern California, so our board meetings had been alternating between the two sites for some time.

ServiceNow logo 300x200That said, the big success story is that the company emerged and broke out from San Diego soil. Fred Luddy, the company founder, is still at ServiceNow [as Chief Product officer], and working from our San Diego operations.

X: How big is the ServiceNow workforce now? Where are your biggest offices?

FS: We now exceed 1,900 in full-time staff. San Diego is our largest site [with 400-plus employees], followed by Santa Clara, CA; Kirkland, WA; London; and Amsterdam.

X: How is the pool of software talent lacking in San Diego?

FS: At ServiceNow, we’ve grown almost 10-fold in the past 3 years. With our hiring standards, we were starting to … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • http://market-by-numbers.com brant cooper

    “People want to make it big, make a ding in the universe, and they are willing to make huge personal sacrifices.”

    By working at ServiceNow? Seems like this is a Management Team/Board “lifestyle choice” more than a talent issue, but what do I know? Guess we’ll see if the world’s highest-priced Engineers will leave Facebook and Google for this company.

  • Kevin Carroll

    Beyond perception, I have never seen any empirical evidence San Diego is somehow less productive. I have seen studies that show a healthy outdoor lifestyle leads to innovation and creativity. Sorry Frank, but very proud to live and work in San Diego where everyday our entrepreneur’s are ‘making it big, making a ding in the universe and willing to make huge personal sacrifices. We see it everyday, sorry you have not been exposed to that part of the San Diego innovation economy.

  • Matt Semenza

    This move is very interesting to me. I am a business development vice president for a offshore software services firm, as a result, I travel to San Jose, regularly. The valley is in a major labor crunch for tech workers. The cost of living there is very high and its hard to be a home owner, due to escalated home values. I am surprised that a company like this, didn’t use San Diego as a key differentiator. Its funny, but my guess is, that they weren’t willing to pay to attract the talent. There’s this odd impact with companies that are based here that believe that they should not have to pay as well for tech workers as in the valley, so as a result, they don’t attract people to move south. If they matched the current wages, which this firm is now filling positions in northern cal with, here in San Diego, they would have been able to expand here, at a lower overall cost to the company.

  • Edward

    Yup, San Diego is full of losers Frank. Because going surfing after work should be replaced by sitting on the 101 for a couple of hours in the Bay Area. And nothing has come out of San Diego. Jonas Salk didn’t do anything. Or Erwin Jacobs. Or Fred Luddy. Let’s be real. The move to Santa Clara was for your lifestyle.

  • Not me

    I left a great company to join ServiceNow, what an amazing product and future!

    I left due to the utterly hostile work environment and dearth of work life balance. If –this– is what Slootman thinks the Valley is made on then he’s an ass.