30 Notable IT Executive Moves: September 201110:00 AM EST Mon. Oct. 03, 2011
In a year that's already seen some of the most eye-opening changes ever in IT executive C-suites, September kept pace quite admirably, starting with a change in the CEO job at the world's largest technology company. Here we recap 30 of September's more interesting IT executive moves -- some obvious and in-your-face, others that happened with significantly less fanfare -- spanning big changes at HP and Microsoft to moves made at some of the country's fastest-rising cloud and managed services providers.
It was a tumultuous year for Leo Apotheker, who succeeded Mark Hurd as CEO of Hewlett Packard in November 2010, and then less than a year later, was shown the door following several months of strategic uncertainty and disappointing earnings. Apotheker's tenure at HP will be best remembered in the channel for the uncertainty created over HP's consideration to sell or spin-off its $42 billion Personal Systems Group (PSG), and the frustration following HP's decision to kill off its TouchPad tablet and leave the future of WebOS, a highly mobile regarded operating system, as a question mark.
Best known as the former CEO of eBay and for an unsuccessful candidacy for the California governor's office, Meg Whitman has bigger fish to fry these days: she's the new president and CEO at HP. Whitman was appointed to HP's top job following the ouster of Leo Apotheker and the move by Ray Lane, who joined HP as non-executive chairman at the time of Apotheker's ascent, to become executive chairman. Whitman certainly has her work cut out for her. She's become top dog at a massive technology company with a highly dysfunctional and leak-prone board of directors, a channel frustrated with what it sees as a number of strategic missteps, and a very short window of opportunity to effect change at HP following so much upheaval in its executive ranks.
The early line on Gianfranco Lanci, who left the CEO job at Acer in March over disagreements with Acer's board, was that he was headed to Samsung. Not so, it turned out: Lanci was in September confirmed as a consultant to Lenovo, overseeing its integration of German PC company Medion AG. Lanci, a well-respected PC industry veteran, is working directly with Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang, according to Lenovo.
A lot of [bleep] happened here, as Carol Bartz might say. Bartz, the longtime IT executive, was ousted a CEO of Yahoo in early September after failing to turn around the struggling Web portal company. Her firing reportedly came in a phone call from Yahoo chairman Roy Bostock -- a move that itself became a media circus thanks to how it was handled and Bartz's salty reaction to it -- was replaced by CFO Tim Morse on an interim basis.
Well, at least there's some stability in HP's executive ranks: HP tapped 24-year veteran Mike Parrottino to lead U.S. channel sales for its Personal Systems Group. Parrottino, now vice president of HP's PSG Solutions Partner Organization, has held a number of channel roles in recent years and is someone Stephen DiFranco, HP's PSG senior vice president and general manager, described to CRN as "one of those executives who works quietly and steadily."
More big changes in a year chock-full of them for Advanced Micro Devices. In late September, AMD confirmed Rick Bergman, general manager of AMD's Products Group, had left the company, and that newly appointed President and CEO Rory Read will assume his duties on an interim basis. Bergman had been at AMD since 2006.
AMD also gained a VP in September: Paul Struhsaker joined the company as corporate vice president and general manager of the chipmaker's Commercial Business Division. Struhsaker was formerly senior vice president of engineering at Comcast.
In what's amounted to an exodus of executive talent from Microsoft in recent months, several key Microsoft movers and shakers parted ways with the company in September or shortly before it. One was Darren Huston, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Consumer & online business, who became CEo of Priceline subsidiary of Booking.com. While at Microsoft, Huston, who was there for eight years, was president and CEO of Microsoft Japan starting in 2005, before moving to C&O.
Rajat Taneja, a 15-year Microsoft veteran and most recently corporate vice president of Microsoft's commerce division, left to become chief technology officer of Electronic Arts. He left right about the same time as another 15-year Microsoft veteran, Pamela Passman, who was a vice president and deputy general counsel at Microsoft, and went to the Center for Responsible Enterprise and Trade, an advocacy group.
One of the first major executive appointments at Apple in the Tim Cook era is iTunes honcho Eddy Cue, who was promoted to senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, including oversight for Apple's iAd business and several of its cloud operations. Cue reports directly to Cook, who succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple in August.
Deals startup Groupon has been under heavy scrutiny as it prepares for an initial public offering (IPO), and apparently didn't have enough luster for Margo Georgiadis, who left her position as COO of Groupon to return to Google, which she had left for Groupon not five months earlier. Georgiadis is now Google's president, Americas region, whereas before she left she was Google's vice president of global sales.
Margo Georgiadis' return to Google as president, Americas, means that Dennis Woodside, who had that job, needed something else to do. According to Google, Woodside has a new gig overseeing Google's $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and is working directly with Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha on the integration.
Well-known former Sprint executive Kevin Packingham joined Samsung Mobile as senior vice president, product innovation -- a big-ticket executive move at a critical time in Samsung's growth as a mobile device player. Packingham will report to Samsung's president, Dale Sohn, and is in charge of Samsung's carrier product management, product planning and concept creation departments. Packingham had left Sprint in August 2010 year to become CEO of Amerilink Telecom, a Huawei-backed telecom startup.
It's been a few months' worth of executive change at security bigwig VeriSign, whose former CEO, Mark McLaughlin, left to become CEO of Palo Alto Networks in August, and whose chief financial officer, Brian Robins, resigned in early September. Replacing Robins on an interim basis is John Calys, who has been VeriSign's controller and vice president since late last year and was formerly an executive at XO Holdings and Sprint.
Integrator CSC's managed services unit has not been a pretty story as of late, and it cost Russ Owen, CSC's president, Managed Services Sector (MSS), his job. CSC in mid-September confirmed that Owen had stepped down as MSS president and is now president, strategic account development at CSC, reporting to Michael Laphen, CSC's chairman, president and CEO. Peter Allen, who is CSC's global sales and marketing leader, has taken an acting management role over MSS.
Jerry Baldwin, a 30-year technology industry veteran, is now running the show at Diskeeper Corp., a specialist in storage performance. Diskeeper confirmed Baldwin's appointment in late September, and it's the latest line a resume that, for Baldwin, includes C-suite roles at BPI/CA, CompUAdd, DEC, EDS and One eCommerce.
John Combs steered the ship at ShoreTel through its hottest growth years and its initial public offering, but in 2010, moved on from the company. Now, Combs has turned his attention to next-gen energy and utilities technology, named the new CEO of smart grid specialist Grid Net. Grid Net focuses on software for managing 3G and 4G smart grid deployments, and Combs will work hand-in-hand with founder and CTO Ray Bell, a former Cisco networking executive and former CEO of Silver Spring.
No sooner did Meg Whitman replace Leo Apotheker in the top spot at HP than the internal memo leaking began anew. Days after Whitman's appointment, a memo indicating a change in HP's communications team appeared on AllThingsD and other outlets, indicating that Lynn Anderson, a veteran HP staffer, will oversee communications at the beleaguered technology giant. Anderson was put in charge of day-to-day communications operations at HP over the summer, following HP's reassignment of Bill Wohl. She now reports directly to Whitman, according to the memo.
SMB-focused networking vendor ZyXEL Communications has seen a number of changes in recent months. Back in May, it named Steven Joe, the former president and CEO of D-Link, it's new executive vice president, channel business, Americas. And in September, it confirmed a new president: Gordon Yang. Yang has been with ZyXEL since 1996, when he joined as president, US operations, and has most recently been president of ZyXEL's European Regional Business.
Alert Logic, the security-as-a-service specialist for cloud deployments, has a practiced hand in a key business development post. The company in mid-September confirmed Rohit Gupta as its new vice president of business development, reporting to Alert Logic CEO Gray Hall. It's a newly-created position at the company, and Gupta will focus on Alert Logic's partnerships with major security companies as well as cloud platform and virtualization vendors, OEM partners, and solution providers. Alert Logic, which closed a $12.6 million round of Series E financing in 2011, has been massing influence in the cloud channel and gaining partners and customers along the way.
Major Microsoft exits abounded in September, and another was Barney Pell, who joined Microsoft in 2008 following its acquisition of Powerset, the company at which Pell was co-founder and chief technology officer. Pell tweeted that he was leaving Microsoft and planned a return to venture capital.
One of the biggest security black-eyes of the year belongs to Sony, which was devastated by hacks to its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services in April that compromised more than 70 million log-in credentials and pieces of user personal information. In early September, Sony made good on a promise to hire a chief information security officer, and that's Philip Reitinger, who held a number of roles in the U.S. government departments, including in Homeland Security, Defense and Justice, and also directed the Trustworthy Computing division at Microsoft.
Quite a few changes at Autotask lately, but the most recent is one Autotask partners are saluting: the appointment of Len DiCostanzo, senior vice president of business development, to lead the Autotask Community, which includes tens of thousands of partners, vendors and IT industry figures.
Yep, more Microsoft exits. Linda Zecher, who was named corporate vice president of Microsoft's Worldwide public sector business in 2009, left Microsoft in September to become president and CEO of education products and services company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. With public sector, Zecher ran an $8 billion business for Microsoft, and Antonio Salcito, vice president, worldwide public sector education, is her interim replacement.
Yet more Microsoft, this time regarding recent changes to Microsoft's Lync management. Derek Burney, corporate vice president, is now in charge of Lync, while Gurdeep Singh Pall, who has been the public face of Microsoft's unified communications strategy up through the Lync launch a year ago, has shifted to manage Microsoft's pending acquisition of Skype. Microsoft executives confirmed both moves to CRN earlier in September.
Onward and upward for Geoffrey Baird, who in September was named the new CEO of 3i-MIND, a specialist in threat management technology and global intelligence and business resiliency services. Baird replaced Yali Harari, who is leaving the company, and is best known to channel partners for his seven years at Avaya, where he was most recently vice president of global product operations before his April 2011 departure.
A key appointment at Tech Data in September was Gregory Banning, who is now vice president, SMB sales and general manager of the distributor's Costa Rica operations. That puts Banning in charge of Tech Data's overall strategy for SMBs and also in charge of a 150-person SMB sales force, plus functional responsibility for the 250-person operations center Tech Data has in Costa Rica.
Cloud monitoring upstart AccelOps has a Silicon Valley staple in its corner now: Robert Yusin, who was named vice president of worldwide sales in mid-September. Yusin was previously executive vice president of worldwide operations at LogLogic, and before that spent a number of years at Symantec.
XO Communications in late September named Laura Thomas its interim CEO while it re-aligns following the exit of former CEO Carl Grivner earlier this year. Thomas has most recently been XO's chief financial officer, a role she'll continue while manning the top job at the CLEC.
Jesper Ovesen is being brought in to mind Nokia Siemens Networks, the struggling joint venture of Nokia and Siemens, in line with a roughly $1.35 billion cash injection from the two companies. Ovesen was in late September named executive chairman at NSN, but perhaps the most notable move around his appointment is it means the exit of non-executive chairman Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo, who has stayed on with the NSN board despite his ouster as CEO of Nokia a year ago.
A legend in the video space, Bob Hagerty has been keeping a fairly low profile since stepping down as CEO of Polycom in May 2010. In mid-September, however, he was named to the board of directors of Plantronics, where he'll chair Plantronics' Mergers & Acquisitions and Strategy committees. He replaces Roger Wery, who retired from Plantronics' board.