Akamai Technologies is a CDN company that is announcing today that they are naming Tom Leighton as the CEO of the company. Leighton is a professor of Applied Mathematics at MIT and co-founded Akamai with Daniel Lewin in 1998. Lewin had served four years in the Israel Defense Forces before he passed away on September 11, 2001 (9/11) when he was fatally stabbed aboard American Airlines Flight 11 by a terrorist when trying to foil the hijacking. Leighton is the chief scientist of the company and he will be replacing Paul Sagan as the CEO. Sagan announced plans to step down from the company by the end of 2013.
Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Akamai was created based on Leighton’s research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology around algorithms that speed up the Internet. The company’s data delivery network has grown to 119,000 servers in 80 countries. They store copies of files that are close to users in order to cut the time that is associated with transferring data.
Akamai competes directly against companies like Limelight Networks and Level 3 Communications. Leighton decided to become more involved in the company because he believes Akamai has the opportunity to embed their software in every connected device. “We are going to make the Internet instant,” said Leighton. “Mobile devices are painfully slow today.” Leighton is taking over the company on January 1st.