HP Internal Memo: Mickos Giving Up Cloud Operations To Focus On Building Ties With Startups

Marten Mickos, a rock star in the open-source community who took the top Hewlett-Packard cloud job just five months ago, is handing over day-to-day responsibilities for the cloud business in order to build ties with the startup community, according to an HP internal memo obtained by CRN.

Mickos' decision to hand over day-to-day responsibilities for sales, product management and engineering to a trio of HP executives was first reported by Gigaom.

[Related: HP's Eucalyptus Deal Paves Way For Hybrid Cloud, But Raises Some Questions ]

"I believe this new operating structure is the right move at the right time to take us to the next level," said Mickos, senior vice president and general manager of HP Cloud, in a memo to cloud business employees, in the memo.

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"With the day-to-day operations of Cloud well taken care of, I will spend my time focused on customer engagement and advocacy and the different communities required to accelerate HP's progress," said Mickos. "Critical to our success will be building close ties to startup communities, especially those focused on cloud and disruptive innovation. My personal passion is identifying disruptive companies that transform the technology landscape."

Mickos said that he will be playing "a key role in a new HP initiative currently under development to reach and support those companies. Stay tuned for more information on this in the coming weeks."

Mickos, the former CEO of open source private cloud startup Eucalyptus, was appointed to the top cloud job by HP CEO Meg Whitman after HP acquired Eucalyptus last September.

The acquisition of Eucalyptus, which billed itself as the only private cloud vendor with tight ties to Amazon Web Services, was widely viewed as a strategic shift for HP.
Up until the Eucalyptus acquisition, HP was viewed as competing directly against Amazon rather than providing an open bridge to AWS with a hybrid cloud strategy. It remains to be seen how Mickos' move into a new role will affect HP's cloud strategy.

NEXT: HP Partner Says Restructuring Marginalizes Mickos

An executive for one of HP's top enterprise partners, who did not want to be identified, said the shakeup looks like a move to marginalize Mickos. "The politics and approach of a $100 billion company is a lot different than an open-source startup," said the executive. "You can't move as fast. There are politics and procedures and probably a lot of stuff that got into the way of how Mickos wanted to move with the cloud business. Someone like Mickos moves at lightning speed and HP is in the middle of an enormous reorganization. You have to figure that factored into this."

Mickos, for his part, noted in the memo that "as we look at both the short and long term strategic direction of our business, the time is now to open up some additional bandwidth at the leadership level to focus on placing some longer term bets."

To do that, Mickos said he has asked HP Vice President Bill Hilf, a former Microsoft Windows Azure product management executive, to continue to drive the product strategy as a senior vice president; Kerry Bailey, a former Terremark executive, to lead cloud sales as senior vice president; and Mark Interrante, a former Rackspace executive, to lead engineering teams.

Mickos said he has asked the three leaders with day-to-day responsibilities of the cloud business to work closely with HP CTO and head of HP Labs Martin Fink to "ensure strong alignment between our innovation roadmap, including The Machine, and our cloud portfolio.

"Cloud is central to all of HP’s businesses and Martin will help bring together assets and resources from across the company to even better support our cloud business," said Mickos.

Ning Wang, the former CFO of Eucalyptus, will "step out of her current cloud operations role to take on another opportunity to be announced soon," said Mickos

"With the industry shift to cloud, this business remains a top priority for HP today and in the future," said Mickos, who signed the memo with the salutation: "kind regards."