by Phil Wiffen
The Citrix UK team are saddened to announce to the Citrix and CUGC communities that Chris Gissing passed away suddenly last week.
A near 20-year Citrite, Chris was all about 4 things: family, people, community, and technology.
If you have worked with Citrix products, Chris’ work and passion probably affected you – whether you realised it or not. Chris was an avid supporter of product quality, interoperability, and customer empathy. He built and drove entire teams dedicated to things like pre-release validation (dogfooding), test environment automation, and performance and scale testing. And he remained hands-on, even as a Director. You’d regularly find him toiling backstage to successfully deliver major Citrix events before hitting the floor to talk technical with customers on any and all of our products, or arranging internal customer council events – getting engineers to exchange with customers on real world usage. He also actively encouraged his team to attend CUGC events to meet the community and hear from them directly.
Publicly, Chris was pretty private. But during his near 20-year tenure at Citrix, Chris was known to many. Never afraid to do the right thing, he was quick witted and forward thinking, kind, giving, and cared deeply about people, community, and Citrix.
He helped many people, quietly – and many of us are only just finding out just how many others he helped in the same, under-the-radar, way:
Internally at Citrix, Chris was famous for a few things:
- His focus on the quality and experience of Citrix products.
- His love of food and drink, and sharing those with others.
- His work with universities and hiring to help build and maintain talent pipelines and career opportunities. Many of the people Chris brought into the company are contributing to Citrix in various departments, far beyond their original entry point.
- His uncanny ability to always be the first person to respond to any Slack message asking for help or advice, no matter the time of day, or night.
Chris’ savviness was legendary. Here’s just one of many examples:
Chris worked with UK universities to ensure their curriculums and courses engaged the students and met the needs of modern technology companies. From those universities, he interviewed and hired many students into Citrix – where he ran internship and graduate hiring schemes for many years, before Citrix had a formal university recruitment team. Those students got real experience: helping to run internal pre-release validation environments, finding bugs and quality issues that may have otherwise have been missed. Many of those students have gone on to work inside Citrix, with many having progressed into senior engineer and management roles. Chris created the conditions to source emerging tech talent, gave them practical work experience and career opportunities, and cost-effectively ran a team that improved Citrix product quality for years.
Chris will be missed, dearly, by everyone who knew him.
Our thoughts go out to Chris’ wife Lucy and his 3 children: Miles, Thomas, and Emily (whom he was so, so proud of – and would show off and talk about given any opportunity – and we loved him for that, too), along with his extended family and loved ones.
Lucy has asked that people share their memories of Chris in a dedicated Twitter thread, so that she can show his children who Chris was, what he did, and how he mattered to people. If you would like to share, you can do that here:
Thank you, from all Citrites.