Elias Leaves HP, May Have Joined EMC

Channel sources said Elias, who made storage and the StorageWorks brand prominent while at Compaq, actually resigned about two weeks ago.

One solution provider close to HP said that Elias left for EMC, joining at least three other top HP storage executives who moved there. "Howard was a great guy," said the solution provider, who requested anonymity. "This is a great loss for HP and a great victory for EMC." HP actually "lost" Elias when it combined the storage and server operations, he said. "My business depends on HP doing well," the solution provider said. "With all these [executive exits], it's hard to determine the company's strategy, vision and coherence as a team."

EMC executives refused to discuss whether Elias joined the company.

Another HP solution provider, also requesting anonymity, said he would be surprised if Elias, who did a great job while running storage at HP, joined EMC. "I can't see him going on to a high-stress job when he was already doing one," he said.

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An HP spokesperson said that Elias decided to leave HP to pursue personal interests outside the company. Elias' position is not expected to be replaced, the spokesperson said.

Since May, Elias served as senior vice president of business management and operations. Prior to that, he was the head of network storage at HP, but in May the vendor's storage and server operations were combined into the Enterprise Storage and Servers (ESS) business unit. When Elias moved to business operations, Scott Stallard was named head of ESS.

Elias' departure is the latest signal of possible turmoil for HP's storage business, both solution providers said. In July, Mark Sorenson, HP's vice president of network storage solutions software, left the company to join EMC, following in the footsteps of his former boss, Mark Lewis, who made the same move a year earlier.

Lewis headed Compaq storage at the time of the HP acquisition but left shortly thereafter, partly because Elias, who had headed the storage business in the late 1990s, was appointed to that position after the acquisition, channel sources said.

Elias had signed an 18-month retention bonus agreement to stay with HP after the acquisition, a solution provider said. That agreement would have expired recently, he added.