Dave Jones, who helped build one of Charlotte’s most successful tech companies, stepped down as CEO of the Peak 10 data-center business. His successor, Chris Downie, had been CEO of New York-based Telx, a data-center company acquired last year by Digital Realty Inc.
Jones co-founded Peak 10 in 2000 after working for GTE, MCI and other telecommunications companies. Among his early backers was Frontier Capital, a Charlotte-based venture-capital company. Since then ownership has changed hands a couple times among private-equity groups, culminating in the $740 million purchase by San Francisco-based GI Partners in 2014.
Peak 10 pioneered the business of offering client companies the opportunity to put servers in remote, secure cites, often acting as a redundant system in case of problems at their main locations. It’s now a well-established practice, but Peak 10 faced initial skepticism because of concerns over safety and privacy. Jones recruited an energetic staff, including Jeff Spalding, Mark Gates, Pat O’Brien and others who built the company’s reputation from scratch. Peak 10 now operates in 10 markets. Since the GI purchase, the company has added several veteran industry executives to its senior management group.
“It is an honor to be handed the torch by Dave Jones, who will be a valued mentor and steward of the business for a long time to come,” Downie said in a statement.
Jones has also served as mentor to many aspiring entrepreneurs in Charlotte, constantly promoting the city’s need to be more welcoming to tech companies. He’s been a reporter’s favorite because of his accessibility and refreshing candor. A University of Virginia graduate, he’s commuted to Charlotte for years from his home in Athens, Ga. Jones is also an avid cyclist and co-owner of a bicycle store in the Georgia city.