Cobalt Data Centers has announced the appointment of Jefferson S. Brown as president of the company, effective immediately. The company also announced that Mike Ballard, Cobalt’s previous CEO, has stepped down to pursue other interests.

Brown brings more than 20 years of experience with high-tech operations to Cobalt. Brown has most recently served as vice president of sales for Savvis, the $1.5 billion cloud infrastructure and hosted technology services division of CenturyLink. Before joining Savvis, Brown was the vice president of sales for the Americas in VeriSign’s authentication solutions business unit. Throughout his career, he has held various leadership positions at Equinix, iPass, and CompuServe, and developed an impressive reputation for building, scaling and restoring growth to technology sales organizations.

“Attracting someone of Jeff’s caliber to Cobalt is enormous validation for our business model,” said Philip Lamb, Cobalt board member. “His experience and track record are exactly what Cobalt needs to ignite our growth and meet the growing demand for datacenter alternatives in Las Vegas. We wish Mike well in his future endeavors and look forward to helping Jeff build Cobalt into an industry leader.”

In 2006, Brown also led a buyout of Equinix’s Honolulu datacenter business to form DRFortress, Hawaii’s premier colocation and cloud service provider. He served as the company’s original CEO, raising more than $15 million and building the foundation for the largest datacenter operator in the state today. Brown continues to serve on the company’s board of directors.

"Jeff's industry insight and strategic guidance helped build DRFortress into the most reputable datacenter operator in all of Hawaii," said Steve Lee, managing director at The Bank Street Group. "It will be exciting to watch him do it again in the fast growing Vegas market. He's got a great facility, an experienced staff and escalating demand."

Brown earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Chicago and graduated from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University with a Master of Business Administration degree. Brown also completed the Executive Program in Strategic Sales Management at the Chicago Booth School of Business.