npm CEO Bryan Bogensberger exits after eight months of turmoil

Bogensberger joined the company in January 2019, with reports of frequent turmoil and high-profile exits during his tenure, including co-founder and COO Laurie Voss.

Node.js JavaScript vs PHP: Which programming language is winning over developers?

Bryan Bogensberger's exit from npm, inc was quietly announced Friday afternoon in a press release stating that Bogensberger "resigned effective immediately to pursue new opportunities." This marked likely one of the few quiet actions in Bogensberger's tumultuous tenure as CEO of npm, the popular package manager of Node.js. 

Bogensberger started as CEO on January 9 this year, as part of a move announced by original author and co-founder Isaac Z. Schlueter as part of a plan to commercialize the service. Bogensberger's involvement with the company started in mid-2018, although he was not formally named CEO until 2019 pending the resolution of visa requirements. "Commercializing something like this without ruining it is no small task, and building the team to deliver on npm's promise is a major undertaking. We've sketched out a business plan and strategy for the next year, and will be announcing some other key additions to the team in the coming months," Schlueter wrote in January.

SEE: Six in-demand programming languages: getting started (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Under Bogensberger's tenure, the company has been plagued with high-profile exits, including co-founder and chief data officer Laurie Voss in July, as well as the late 2018 exit of CTO CJ Silverio, who announced the self-hosted federated package registry Entropic following her ouster from the company. Silverio commented on Bogensberger's exit on Twitter.

Employees learned of Bogensberger's exit on Tuesday, with a confirmation sent to all employees early Friday before a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, according to a long-serving employee who spoke to TechRepublic on the condition of anonymity, adding that a senior manager instructed their team to update their resumes. 

Bogensberger also presided over a firing of staff at npm in March following attempts to unionize, resulting in a National Labor Relations Board complaint, according to The Register, reporting that Bogensberger had previously called off settlement negotiations in June.

npm's track record for security and corporate governance prior to Bogensberger's tenure as CEO has been dicey—the infamous left-pad incident was prompted by npm, inc., following their acquiescence to demands from lawyers representing the messaging service Kik demanding that an unrelated package be renamed. After the author of the package declined, npm, inc. reassigned the package to Kik, prompting the original author to unpublish every other package they owned, breaking downstream programs that required those packages, with 575,000 installations using the left-pad package.

Former employees are heartened by the news, and for the future of npm, inc., despite the course of events. "npm is fundamentally well-positioned, and still has a unique advantage in the developer tools space by being the center of the open source universe," said Jonathan E Cowperthwait, former marketing executive. "Many of us spent the last year watching our friends' and colleagues' struggle through our fingers, but I'm still profoundly confident in the company's ability to turn this around."

npm also made headlines in August when a developer inserted advertising in a package published on npm, leading to the practice being banned.

Also see


Image: iStockphoto/SIphotography