CEO Lynch Joins Autonomy Executive Exodus From HP


Autonomy co-founder and CEO Mike Lynch is leaving Hewlett Packard after a "transitional period," and he will apparently be traveling a well-worn path.

About 20 percent of the Autonomy staff has resigned since HP closed its $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy last October, including Sushovan Hussein, president; Peter Menell, CTO; Nicole Eagan, CMO; Andy Kanter, COO; and Martina King, head of Aurasma, one source familiar with the matter told CRN Thursday.

Autonomy CFO Steve Chamberlain jumped ship earlier this month to become CFO at Sepura, a U.K.-based developer of digital radio technology. Hussein, Menell, Eagan and Kanter are all still listed as managers on Autonomy's Web site.

[Related: HP's Double Whammy: 27,000 Layoffs, Autonomy Founder Steps Down]

An HP spokesperson declined to confirm the Autonomy executive departures, which were also reported Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. An Autonomy spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment.

"It’s very common and very natural for entrepreneurs to move on following an acquisition, particularly when the day-to-day operations of the business become a bigger factor," the HP spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

At the time of the acquisition, Autonomy was Britain's largest software company by market capitalization and had racked up several consecutive profitable quarters. Its software had won the prestigious Queen's Award for Enterprise in 2009 and 2010. But the feel-good glow in the Autonomy team has dissipated in recent months, said the source, who requested anonymity.

"The mood is pretty disappointing and downbeat," said the source. "It just seems the acquisition did not go well, [with incompatibility between] culture, teams and so on."

HP said Autonomy suffered a "significant decline in license revenue" in its fiscal second quarter, and CEO Meg Whitman described Autonomy's results as "disappointing" in the company’s earnings call.

Whitman, who did not talk about Lynch's departure, remains bullish on Autonomy's technology, which allows computers to understand unstructured, or 'human friendly' information -- i.e. emails, Twitter posts, video and audio.

"This is a classic enterprise company scaling challenge, and I have seen this movie before," Whitman said in a Q&A during the call.

HP plans to cut 9,000 positions in fiscal 2012 and 27,000 by the end of fiscal 2014. HP said the restructuring will save the company between $3.0 billion and $3.5 billion.