Paul Maritz will step down from his role as CEO of VMware, to be replaced by EMC Chief Operating Officer Pat Gelsinger.
Maritz will instead become chief strategist of EMC, which is the majority owner of VMware.
The news confirmed rumors of a change in VMware's leadership that had swirled throughout the day.
In addition, EMC CFO David Goulden was appointed president and chief operating officer of EMC, the storage giant said.
"Today we are witnessing an extraordinary transformation in the IT industry unlike anything we have seen before - a major shift to cloud computing, big data applications and delivering IT-as-a-Service," EMC Chairman and CEO Joe Tucci said in a statement.
EMC is making the changes to capitalise on the opportunity that presents, he said.
Maritz's new role will take effect September 1, according to EMC.
It "grew out of discussions at the board of directors level," Maritz said. "In discussing things with Joe and the board we felt this would be a right time to hand over the baton. Pat is supremely qualified to take VMware to the next level of the journey."
Maritz "will be actively directing" new product development efforts in his new role, he said. "I will have my hands on."
Tucci intends to stay on as EMC CEO at least through 2013, and still expects his successor to be chosen from within the company, he said.
EMC also announced preliminary financial results for the quarter. It expects to report $US5.31 billion in revenue, a rise of 10 per cent.
Non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings per share were $US0.39, up 11 per cent, EMC said.
The company also confirmed its full-year guidance of $US22 billion in revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share of $US1.70.
Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris's e-mail address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com