Chef’s Position on Customer Engagement in the Public and Private Sectors

[Update on 9/23/2019 at 8.55pm] Read this blog from CEO Barry Crist for a further update on the event.

Below is an e-mail I sent to all Chef employees today sharing my views on our contract with DHS-ICE. This is an incredibly important, difficult and divisive topic and one I care deeply about.


Thank you for participating in this afternoon’s all hands meeting. Today has been a difficult day for the Chef community, our customers, and most importantly you, our employees. Earlier today, a former Chef employee removed several Ruby Gems, impacting production systems for a number of our customers. Our entire team has worked to minimize customer downtime and will continue to do so until we restore services to 100% operation. 

The incident today was precipitated by a protest against one of our customer contracts, specifically with the U.S. Department of Home Security and its sub-agency, U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (DHS-ICE). For context, we began working with DHS-ICE during the previous administration to modernize their IT practices with agile and DevOps. 

While I understand that many of you and many of our community members would prefer we had no business relationship with DHS-ICE, I have made a principled decision, with the support of the Chef executive team, to work with the institutions of our government, regardless of whether or not we personally agree with their various policies. I want to be clear that this decision is not about contract value — it is about maintaining a consistent and fair business approach in these volatile times. I do not believe that it is appropriate, practical, or within our mission to examine specific government projects with the purpose of selecting which U.S. agencies we should or should not do business. My goal is to continue growing Chef as a company that transcends numerous U.S. presidential administrations.  

And to be clear: I also find policies such as separating families and detaining children wrong and contrary to the best interests of our country.

Our strength has and always will be derived from that of our employees and our community. So many of you have inspired me with your dialogue, efforts, and encouragement on what has been a difficult day for all of us. Thank you for your support and passion, thank you for reading my thoughts, and thank you for being Chefs.

– Barry

[Update on 9/23/2019 at 8.55pm] Read this blog from CEO Barry Crist for a further update on the event.

Barry Crist

Barry Crist has more than 20 years of experience in driving enterprise customer success with open source and DevOps software solutions and is a recognized leader in driving a culture of innovation. Barry joined Chef as CEO in 2013 and has been a leading force behind the company’s business operations, culture and technology innovation.