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There is a well-established track record of CEOs leaving HP after being acquired. The list includes Chris Lynch, CEO of Vertica; John M. Jack, CEO of Fortify; Tom Reilly, CEO of ArcSight; and Thor Culverhouse, CEO of Stratavia. Opsware President and CEO Ben Horowitz stuck around for two years after HP acquired his company in 2007, leaving in 2009 to start the venture capital firm Andreesen Horowitz.
These departures are not necessarily signs of dysfunction at HP. Startup CEOs are entrepreneurial types that quickly grow frustrated with the bureaucracies of large companies. Others, like Jon Rubinstein, the former Palm CEO who left in January, stick around to fulfill contractual obligations.
Perhaps Lynch, who reportedly made $800 million when HP bought Autonomy, decided to just take a break. Of course, if this were true, Whitman would have acknowledged his departure and perhaps given the old "wants to spend time with family" line.
No, Whitman has made it clear: She wants new leadership for Autonomy and believes the technology is still eminently viable. "The market and competitive position for Autonomy remains strong," she said in HP's earnings call this week.
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