30 Notable IT Executive Moves: January 201210:00 AM EST Wed. Feb. 01, 2012
You could be forgiven if you expected some slowdown in major IT executive moves this month following the year that was; 2011 held as many high-profile channel and IT executive exits as any year in recent memory.
But the past four weeks showed us that there's still a lot of moving and shaking going on, and by the end of January, we saw a number of new CEOs, channel chief changes and major sales and marketing team shakeups from all over the channel's best-known companies. Have a look at some of the major moves.
When Alain Monie returned to Ingram Micro as president and COO in October 2011 after a year, it was perhaps a sign that a change was coming. That was indeed the case, as Ingram in mid-January confirmed that Monie would become CEO and that Greg Spierkel, CEO since 2005, would step down. Spierkel will remain at Ingram through April 15 to assist with the transition, according to Ingram.
It was much called-for by a number of analysts and shareholders, and it finally happened: Research In Motion in late January confirmed that co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie would step aside, and Thorstein Heins, its former co-COO, would be installed as president and CEO. Whether regime change can turn around RIM's sinking fortunes is the new question.
A well-known executive tucked into a loosely-defined advisory role is usually a sign that that executive is on his way out. Such was the case with Jon Rubinstein, the so-called father of the Apple iPod and the former CEO of Palm, which was acquired by HP in 2010. Rubinstein, who was the chief evangelist for the much-discussed WebOS mobile operating system, was given a "product innovation" role in HP's PC business last July, but in late January, his departure from the tech giant was confirmed.
Bill Veghte, who joined HP in May 2010 following a long stint at Microsoft, has an expanded title at HP as of mid-January, when he was named chief strategy officer in addition to his role as executive vice president of software. Under Veghte's watchful eye are two key priorities for HP: how to distribute WebOS under an open-source license and how best to integrate Autonomy, which HP acquired last year for $10.2 billion in a bid to expand its information management software footprint.
He wasn't what observers would call an "obvious" choice, but Scott Thompson, former president of PayPal, became the new CEO of Yahoo in early January. Thompson's appointment came about five months after Yahoo ousted former chief executive Carol Bartz. Tim Morse, who had been acting CEO in the interim, returned to his role as Yahoo's chief financial officer.
Carol Bartz wasn't the only major casualty of Yahoo's executive overhaul, it seems. Jerry Yang, who co-founded Yahoo in 1995, exited Yahoo's board in mid-January, as well as the boards of Yahoo Japan and Alibaba Group, which Yahoo part-owns. Analysts saw the move as an admission that Yahoo would need new ideas and new energy to compete effectively with search giant Google and other, fresher titans of the social networking era. "Jerry's thrown in the towel," a BGC analyst told Bloomberg at the time.
Among other major tech companies that restructured in January was Intel, which named Brian Krzanich its new chief operating officer among other executive changes. Krzanich, most recently senior vice president of worldwide manufacturing, now reports directly to Paul Otellini, Intel's president and CEO, and will continue to oversee Intel's global manufacturing operations. Other promotions included Dadi Perlmutter, now Intel's chief product officer, and Kirk Skaugen, now head of Intel's PC Client Group.
Former federal CIO Vivek Kundra, who stepped down from his government post last summer, joined Salesforce.com as an executive vice president in early January. It's there where Kundra, one of the country's most visible cloud computing advocates, will oversee Salesforce's growth in emerging markets.
IBM has a new channel chief to greet the Ginni Rometty era, and that's Mark Hennessy, a 30-year IBM veteran who was most recently in charge of strategy for IBM's sales and distribution. Former channel chief Rich Hume, meanwhile, has moved over to manage IBM's European operations, and is now based in Madrid. Hume's title was general manager, IBM global business partners.
Speaking of IBM changes, new CEO Ginni Rometty made additional executive appointments as she officially took over for former CEO Sam Palmisano on Jan. 1. Among the more notable are Bruno Di Leo, now IBM's senior vice president, sales and distribution, and Bridget Van Kralingen, senior vice president, IBM Global Business Services.
Jeremy Butt oversaw some of the biggest-ever changes at Avaya during his nearly four years as global channel chief, but it's come time for him to move on. Butt's pending departure from Avaya -- he'll officially leave in March -- was confirmed to CRN in mid-January. The position, which is vice president, worldwide channels, will not be replaced, and all of Butt's reports will roll up to Tom Mitchell, Avaya senior vice president and president, Avaya Go To Market.
A number of HP executives have defected to Oracle in the past year, and one of the most notable was confirmed by CRN at the beginning of January: Tom LaRocca, a 12-year HP veteran and one of the key architects of HP's PartnerOne program. LaRocca joined Oracle as vice president of product strategy and alliances.
Among the major executive changes at Dell in the past month was the promotion of Adriana "Andi" Karaboutis to global CIO, where Karaboutis will be responsible for Dell's organization and information infrastructure developments. She joined Dell in 2010 as vice president of IT, and had been at General Motors and Ford Motor Company for more than two decades before that.
More changes in the Dell camp: an early January reorganization moved its public, large enterprise, SMB and consumer business segments under a single executive, Steve Felice, soon to be Dell's president and chief commercial officer. As part of the change, Paul Bell, who heads up Dell's public and enterprise segments, is retiring. The change takes effect officially on Feb. 4.
It's over-and-out for Alex Thurber, who exited McAfee as senior vice president, worldwide channel operations to take over the top sales job at security software company Tripwire. Replacing Thurber is Gavin Struthers, who in early January told McAfee partners that McAfee would overhaul the requirements for partner certification.
More changes afoot at SAP, which in mid-January named John Graham to a number of key North America channel roles following the promotion of Kevin Gilroy to an international channel role. Graham's title is senior vice president, North America volume markets and public sector.
LifeSize Communications, a division of Logitech focused on enterprise videoconferencing and network infrastructure, named Colin Buechler its new CEO in mid-January. Buechler, a former Dell executive and most recently LifeSize's senior vice president of sales and marketing, succeeds Craig Malloy, who remains on the vendor's supervisory board.
Like Vivek Kundra, Aneesh Chopra decided he'd spent enough time in a federal technology role. Chopra, named the country's first-ever federal CTO shortly following Kundra's appointment as federal CIO in early 2009, confirmed in late January he would leave his Obama Administration post. Speculation holds that Chopra, a former Secretary of Technology for Virginia, will seek the lieutenant governorship of that state.
When Gianfranco Lanci left Acer as CEO last year over disagreements with Acer's board, initial speculation held that he would take a job with Samsung. That turned out to be an unfounded rumor, and in early January, Lanci was confirmed as the new head of the EMEA PC unit for Lenovo, another Acer PC rival. Lanci had been a consultant with Lenovo since September.
In early January came word that Robert Wahbe, corporate vice president of server and tools marketing at Microsoft, would exit the company. Later that week, Microsoft confirmed 15-year veteran Takeshi Numoto, currently corporate vice president of Microsoft's Office product management group, will take over Wahbe's post at the end of February.
It's always interesting to see where famous IT executives turn-up following high-profile exits, because it says a lot about the types of bets IT's most visionary thinkers are making. Ray Ozzie, the former chief software architect at Microsoft and also the creator of Lotus Notes, confirmed to several outlets in early January that he was part of a new company called Cocomo, hiring in Boston and Seattle areas. What exactly Cocomo does hasn't much been confirmed, but Ozzie sure seems excited. "What a fantastic year it was," Ozzie wrote on his Twitter feed. "On to the next adventure."
Tough stretch at camera and office equipment legend Canon, which in late January said its profit will increase by less than 1 percent for the second straight year. The shortfall is claiming least one job: that of President and COO Tsuneji Uchida, who will step down on March 29 and be replaced by Fujio Mitarai, Canon chairman. Uchida will become an adviser, though Tokyo news outlets reported he had offered to resign.
Alcatel-Lucent's enterprise unit, the subject of much sell-off speculation over the past year, has a new leader: Michel Emelianoff. He replaces Tom Burns, departing the telecom giant from what were described as "personal reasons." Emelianoff will oversee all of Alcatel-Lucent's global enterprise business in the new role. He's been at the company since 1998.
Avaya grabbed a Cisco executive and promoted several of its better known execs, in another big round of moves at a company that can't seem to stop making them. Marc Randall joined Avaya as senior vice president and general manager of Avaya Networking, the new name for Avaya's data networking practice. Steve Bandrowczak, who ran that unit, is taking a new, as-yet-undefined customer-facing sales role. Gary Barnett is now senior vice president for Avaya Collaboration Infrastructure. Brett Shockley is now Avaya senior vice president and general manager, applications and emerging technologies. Dr. Alan Baratz is now senior vice president, corporate development and strategy.
Two of the country's most prominent Avaya VARs hired executive talent associated with that vendor. Carousel Industries snagged Ed Wadbrook, former director of Avaya's Aura product group, to take a new role as vice president, applications and collaborative solutions. Meanwhile, Strategic Products and Services (SPS) grabbed Jenine Johnson, most recently Avaya senior vice president, U.S. services, to be its new vice president, services and operations.
Fonality, the open-source VoIP and UC vendor, named a new CEO in mid-January: David Scult, a former Microsoft executive and Office 365 general manager. Its the third new CEO for Fonality in as many years, and Fonality didn't describe why former CEO Dean Mansfield, a former Brocade and NetSuite executive, had left. Scult's focus at Microsoft was on global distribution of cloud-based versions of Microsoft's SharePoint, Exchange and Office products.
The ongoing makeover of Polycom's executive team continued in January with the appointment of four North America area vice presidents -- Greg Prindle, Peter Elmgren, Joe Vranicar, Dean Ash -- and a new vice president of worldwide engineering, Ashan Willy, to focus on video collaboration. The executives' resumes include some of IT's best-known vendors, including top sales and marketing and technology jovs at HP, Cisco, Intel and Juniper.
Scott Friedlander had to voluntarily resign as president, CEO and director of GTSI in late 2010 following an investigation into GTSI's contracting practices by the Small Business Administration. Friedlander was off radar for much of 2011, but in January 2012 surfaced as the new president and CEO of Paragon Technology Group, the Vienna, Va.-based government integrator. Friedlander worked with the backing of LLR Partners, a private equity group, to acquire a majority stake in Paragon.
January had a number of interesting executive moves related to MSPs, but two in particular stood out. Gary Read, the former CEO of cloud networking monitoring provider Nimsoft, joined Boundary, a new player in SaaS monitoring, as CEO. And Dave Sobel (pictured) joined LPI Level Platforms as its director of partner community following the sale of Evolve Technologies, the VAR Sobel ran as CEO, to Network Depot.
A major management shakeup at D-Link meant the departures late last year of Nick Tidd, former president, D-Link North America, and most of his top lieutenants. The D-Link exits have continued into the new year, too; Mark Ciprietti, vice president and general manager, business solutions division, D-Link Canada and vice president, North America Channel DMR, left the company in early January.