On the heels of our recent C-suite announcement introducing the Executive team who is ushering in a new chapter of growth for iText, we wanted to take the opportunity to get better acquainted with our CEO, Gary Fry. Only six months into the role, Gary has taken his veteran-like experience and superior leadership to the helm of iText’s enterprise. We caught up with the seasoned software industry leader to find out how it’s going, where it’s headed, and what makes iText a best-in-breed, top open-source solution provider.
How are you settling into your new role as CEO?
It’s been an exciting journey. Typically there are phases of excitement that lead to troughs of despair, but so far it’s just been going up and up. The ownership of the company is amazing in terms of the support and empowerment they give their people. It has been a bit challenging with the pandemic’s constraints around in-person communication, but I’ve been fortunate to spend time in our Belgium office, and the team is incredible. I’ve never experienced a customer approval rating as high as ours. Every customer conversation I’ve been a part of thus far has been delightful. The positive energy behind these engagements has been a true testament to how well received the innovation is behind iText’s technology.
On the development, product, and commercial side, it’s clear to see how the team is made up of quality individuals who are fully vested in where the company is going and attuned to where it’s been. It’s the people, first and foremost, who are allowing me to direct the company because we know the product is great in and of itself. The promising new talent, and established talent alike, are the future of iText, which is great to witness. Oh, and the Belgian waffles are pretty awesome.
What first attracted you to iText?
For one, it’s a software company in a sector that I’m very familiar with. When you come to lead a new company, it’s important you understand the sector, and I felt confident my background and experience could support that.
When you research the company, you start to understand some of the nuances of what the company is about—the strength and its base points of where it’s come from. The presence iText has in the Fortune 500 companies, 34 percent of them, is quite staggering. I knew this would be a solid opportunity to be incredibly successful in the development community. We’re supporting a massive community of developers out there who have built their livelihood around our solution, and we take those credentials seriously.
Your resume speaks for itself. What did you take with you from your previous roles into this role as iText’s CEO?
From my past experience as an engineer to a salesman to a general manager to CEO, the last 20 years have taught me so much. But as you go through that journey, you start to recognize it’s the team you surround yourself with that makes the difference. I learned how to be a facilitator. My long time mantra for leadership is to enable great people. My job is to make sure they’re supported with the right tools and right energy to use that intellectual power. My goal with iText is to empower the team to do the right things, and to make sure that when we make mistakes, we learn and we move on. On the flip side, when we do well, we learn and do more of it. I consider myself mature, but still hungry.
What is something people may not know about you?
Aside from being an avid family man, I love being on the water. Sailing has been something I’ve done since childhood. I love the tranquility and peaceful reclusiveness it brings me, but I also enjoy the competitive side of it too. My kids are now 15 and 13 and they share that love for sailing and competing so it’s nice to be able to escape on the weekends and enjoy that family time. You’ll see us out by the coast on any given summer weekend!
iText is already a leader in open-source PDF technology. What is your vision for iText and how will you further grow our company?
I have to make sure we honor and keep the success of this company. I strive to ensure we continue to grow and support our customers. Enabling the development community is core to who we are. We believe we’re the first and largest PDF producer for enterprise customers globally and holding that number one position in a way that our community and partners respect is what we’re aimed to do.
We also want to keep growing and expanding our global footprint. We want to offer our customers, partners, and developers a wider gamut of technology to play with. And we plan to extend our reach with IDP (Intelligent Document Processing). There is a lot of functionality that we do in our customers’ data to make sure end users can understand it in PDF, whether that’s redaction, digital signatures, or manipulation. We’re offering that value and can explore the journey from the document back into the system. We have the ability to expand that vision with the same caliber of innovation that our customers have come to expect.