Farquhar to step down from Atlassian

Brandon How

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar has announced his departure from the company after nearly 23 years, leaving Mike Cannon-Brookes as the sole chief executive.

Mr Farquhar will officially step down from the role as co-founder and co-CEO on August 31, 2024 but will remain a board member and special advisor.

Atlassian was officially formed by Mr Farquhar and Mr Cannon-Brookes soon after the pair left the University of New South Wales in 2002.

In an update to the NASDAQ on Friday, Atlassian said Mr Farquhar plans to spend more time with his family, engage in philanthropy, and “further the technology industry globally”.

Atlassian co-founder Scott Farquhar

Reflecting on his time at Atlassian in a blog post, Mr Farquhar argued the company kickstarted the Australian tech industry following the dot-com bubble and “started what is now known as ‘Product Led Growth’ by selling business software online with no salespeople”.

“While it’s a difficult decision to step away, I do so knowing Atlassian is exceptionally positioned to take hold of the massive opportunities at its feet,” he said on Friday.

In addition to his role at Atlassian, Mr Farquhar is the co-founder of Skip Capital and an investor in startup accelerator Startmate, workplace safety software firm SafetyCulture, and Blackbird Ventures. He said his philanthropy will be undertaken through Skip Foundation and Pledge 1%.

Mr Farquhar is also an outspoken supporter of the broader tech sector through his engagement with ongoing policy issues including in his capacity as a founding board member of industry representative group, the Tech Council of Australia.

In particular, he led the charge in railing against the introduction of powers that would grant federal law enforcement agencies access to messaging services with end-to-end encryption.

At the time, Mr Farquhar reportedly warned that the law would create “a choke hold on the Australian tech industry” and created confusion regarding what tech workers might be obliged to do.

He also represented tech sector interests at the federal government’s Jobs and Skills Summit, which took place months after the Albanese government came to power in 2022.

Mr Cannon-Brookes said it’s difficult to quantify Mr Farquhar’s impact on Atlassian, which has grown from just the two of them to “a global company of over 11,000 employees and over US$4 billion in annual revenue”.

Last quarter, Atlassian received $1.2 billion in revenue, up 30 per cent year-on-year and said the ‘cloud-majority’ company had 300,000 customers using its cloud products.

Taking to LinkedIn, Industry and Science minister Ed Husic said he is grateful for Mr Farquhar’s contributions to the local tech sector.

Mr Husic said that the Atlassian co-founder “deserves credit for never taking a backward step in talking up the need to have greater faith in our local tech talent, to back it, invest in it and grow the sector because it’s important for our economy and nation long term”.

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