30 Notable IT Executive Moves: February 20124:00 PM EST Thu. Mar. 01, 2012
January 2012 had a series of major IT executive moves to kick off the year and, in February, the pace of major C-suite and channel chief changes only slightly slowed. Here's a look at major moves for the month of February, which included a number of big moves at major IT distributors and vendors such as Dell and Google.
Panasonic is putting Kazuhiro Tsuga (r.) in charge of its turnaround, naming Tsuga president in late February and replacing Fumio Ohtsubo in the role. Tsuga is currently a senior managing director and president of Panasonic's A/V products unit and is expected to assume the presidency of the entire company in June. Tsuga has his work cut out for him; Panasonic recently forecast a roughly $9.7 billion loss for the year ending March 31.
Dell has put a big software stake in the ground, creating a new Software Group and in early February naming former CA Technologies CEO John Swainson to run it. Swainson will start March 5, report to Michael Dell, chairman and CEO, and oversee the Software Group's efforts around organizational support capabilities and software application development.
Details were still emerging at press time, but several news reports held that Google's Dennis Woodside has been tapped to replace Sanjay Jha as the CEO of Motorola Mobility, which is in the process of being acquired by Google. Woodside most recently was Google's senior vice president, Americas, and he left that position to oversee the merger.
In a coup between rival technology giants, Google landed Simon Prakash, most recently Apple's senior director of product integrity, to run a "secret project," according to VentureBeat and other reports. All together now: "Hmm …"
Another early days Googler gone: Craig Silverstein, who was the first hire made by Google's founders and technically its third employee, left Google to take a position at online learning specialist Khan Academy. Silverstein had held a variety of roles at Google since joining the search giant in 1998.
Tragedy struck semiconductor company Micron Technology in early February when chairman and CEO Steve Appleton died in a small-plane accident in Boise, Idaho. Mark Durcan, who had only recently announced his retirement as president and COO of Micron, took over as CEO several days after Appleton's passing.
Eric Brown, most recently executive vice president and CFO of video games titan Electronic Arts, was named Polycom's CFO and COO in early February, the latest move in Polycom's ongoing executive team makeover. Brown replaces Mike Kourey, executive vice president and CFO, who is retiring March 7.
After months of speculation, Kazuo Hirai was named Sony's new CEO and president in early February, and in several interviews and public appearances since then -- including a high-profile speaking slot at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona -- Hirai has offered some variation on a pledge to "rebuild Sony" following catastrophic 2011 losses and the stinging after-effects of a hack of its PlayStation Network.
The big story around AT&T this month was a fourth-quarter loss and a subsequent shakeup following its failed $39 billion merger with T-Mobile USA. AT&T's executive shuffle included new roles for John Stankey, now AT&T's group president and chief strategy officer; Ralph De La Vega, who will focus on AT&T Mobility instead of both Mobility and Consumer Markets; and Andy Geisse, now executive vice president of AT&T Business & Home Solutions and in charge of consumer wireline broadband.
Apple has had a magic touch for retail operations, so whoever is in charge of Apple's retail operations obviously has no shortage of pressure. That person is now John Browett, whom Apple confirmed at the end of January as its new senior vice president, Retail, reporting directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook. Browett comes from Dixons Retail, the European technology retail giant, where he's been CEO since 2007. He joins Apple officially in April.
Jeremy Butt, who left Avaya several weeks ago following nearly four action-packed years as worldwide channel chief, was named to a newly created position at distributor Westcon Group, where he is now executive vice president of EMEA. He has oversight for Westcon's European unified communications, European security and Africa/India/Middle East operations, which Westcon recently converged into one business unit.
Tech Data put a practiced hand in charge of its all-important mobile solutions business unit, TD Mobility, and that's Joe Quaglia, who also will retain his role as senior vice president of U.S. marketing at the distributor. Key to TDMobility is ActivateIT, a joint venture between Tech Data and Brightstar that serves about 60,000 solution providers in the mobile market with everything from hardware and software to services activation and telecom expense management.
A number of marquee Cisco executives have left Cisco in the past year, and that exodus has continued. The latest big name is Laura Ipsen, who left Cisco to take over Microsoft's $8 billion Worldwide Public Sector Organization in mid-February. At Cisco, Ipsen was senior vice president and general manager for the Connected Energy Networks business unit -- a curious departure given Cisco's seeming on-again, off-again emphasis on that market.
Arrow has been on the move in a big way in the Avaya channel, buying up not one but two major Avaya solution providers, Shared Technologies and Cross Telecom, with which it proceeded to form a new business unit, Arrow S3. CRN learned in early February that Mark McGrath, former president of Insight North America, was tapped to lead Arrow S3, replacing Glenn Means, who had been president of Shared and then president of S3 since March 2011.
In another major defection from Hewlett-Packard, David Barr, who had run HP's $350 million LeftHand Storage business, became vice president of cloud storage engineering at cloud start-up Nirvanix. His departure followed that of Emil Sayegh, former vice president of marketing in HP's storage group, who left HP to become CEO of cloud hosting company Codero.
Yet more reshuffling in Microsoft's Windows Phone group, as Brandon Watson left Microsoft to become director of the Kindle Cross Platform team at Amazon. At Microsoft, Watson headed the Windows Phone Developer Experience; the software giant hadn't yet named a replacement at press time.
It wasn't all that long ago that Jonathan Schwartz was putting out fires as CEO of Sun Microsystems, but Schwartz's new venture has a decidedly different mission. Schwartz in mid-February launched CareZone, which aims to provide software tools that make the exchange of online health information easier on caregivers and the patients they oversee. Schwartz told BusinessWeek he decided to launch the private site as he took over caregiver duties for his aging parents.
As CEO of BlueWater Communications Group, Bob Cagnazzi built a $250 million communications, infrastructure and data center-focused solution provider with national recognition. Now, Cagnazzi is headed to something bigger: the CEO post at Presidio, which acquired BlueWater in late February. Presidio, a roughly $2 billion solution provider powerhouse and ranked No. 23 on CRN's 2011 VAR500 listing, has acquired a number of major solution providers in recent years, including INX, Coleman, Ficomp, NIS and Solarcom.
David Gulian, the well-known former CEO of InfoLogix, has a new role as CEO of Futura Mobility, formerly known as Futura Healthcare Technology. Gulian left InfoLogix following its acquisition by Stanley Black & Decker, and he will oversee Futura's existing management team.
VAR500 staple Cognizant Technology Solutions had an impressive fourth quarter, with revenue growth of 27 percent to hit $1.66 billion, and full year returns of $6.12 billion. Along with the earnings growth came new promotions, including that Gordon Coburn, most recently CFO and COO, was named president; Rajeev Mehta was named Group Chief Executive, industries and markets; Chandra Sekaran was named Group Chief Executive, technology and operations; Malcolm Frank was named executive vice president, strategy and marketing; and Karen McLoughlin was named CFO.
Kevin Hooper, a well-known sales vice president at HP and a hard-charging channel advocate, was named to a new post running Americas sales for HP Networking in early February. Details of Hooper's new role are still emerging, but his title is vice president, HP Networking sales, Americas, and he'll continue to report to Randy Seidl, senior vice president, Americas, for HP's ESSN group.
It's the incredible shrinking HP webOS team, which is seeing sizable layoffs, and lost first Jon Rubinstein and then, right at the end of January, Brian Hernacki, chief architect for webOS. Hernacki, a 16-year industry veteran, had joined Palm in 2009 as chief security architect and moved to HP following HP's 2010 acquisition of the beleaguered smartphone maker.
Jim Veraldi, who was executive vice president at Denville, N.J.-based solution provider Micro Strategies and president of Ingram Micro's VentureTech Network VAR group, is headed to Ingram Micro proper to become senior director of sales. Veraldi told CRN he'd begun working on an exit strategy from Micro Strategies last fall, and after looking at jobs with vendors chose Ingram due to the relationships he'd built in his role with VentureTech Network.
Continuing a trend of major vendor executives going to work for solution provider partners, well-known former Polycom executive Thomas Johnston, known as "Brad," signed on with Solutionz Conferencing, a Brentwood, Calif.-based videoconferencing and UC specialist, in early February. Johnson, who was president of Polycom's Americas region until his departure in fall 2011, will run Solutionz' business development, strategic planning and sales execution.
A 15-year veteran of the channel, Mary Ellen Grom became Synnex's new vice president of marketing in the U.S., reporting to Bob Stegner, senior vice president, marketing, North America. She most recently was director of marketing at ScanSource, focused on strategic marketing plans and leading the product management team.
Meru Networks, which is still awaiting a decision on its next CEO, named Gary Abad its new vice president of channels sales in mid-February. Abad had most recently been vice president of channel sales at Kaspersky Lab, and replaced Cindy Cole Sauvignon, who had departed the $85 million wireless LAN specialist in December.
More new additions and promotions at ScanSource: Rich Long joined the distributor as vice president of marketing -- a return to the company he worked for for seven years earlier in his career -- and Xavier Cartiaux became president of international operations, a newly created position that he'll officially assume April 2.
More new additions and promotions at distributor Jenne. Susan Elder was named director of marketing following many years of marketing and communications roles at Cleveland-area companies such as the American Red Cross and Invacare. Rick Coan, who'd previously been a business consultant to Jenne and also was formerly CFO of Garick LLC, was named senior vice president of finance, heading up the distributor's day-to-day financial activities, risk management, treasury and M&A.
Former Symantec CEO John Thompson has kept a somewhat lower profile since departing the security giant in 2009, but Thompson recently was named to Microsoft's board of directors, bringing Microsoft's board back up to 10 members. Thompson is currently CEO of Virtual Instruments, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of software for testing the performance of applications deployed in virtualized environments.
Bretford Manufacturing named Phil Cloutier to the role of vice president, sales and marketing, a newly created position. Cloutier will run Bretford's North America and international market strategies and oversee the launch of Bretford's new EDU 2.0 line of social learning furniture products for education customers. Cloutier most was recently vice president of marketing and inside sales at McCue, Salem, Mass.