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EMC lures key HP exec to take up CTO role

Enterprise storage vendor EMC has appointed a former Hewlett-Packard executive to succeed the company's chief technology officer Jim Rothnie.

Mark Lewis, formerly worldwide head of marketing at HP, will take on the role of executive vice-president of new ventures and chief technology officer at EMC. Rothnie, who is also a senior vice-president at EMC, will retire and become CTO Emeritus at the company, serving in an advisory capacity on technology issues.

Rothnie is a respected industry veteran who has previously worked at Data General and Computer Corporation of America (CCA). He served as president and chief operating officer at CCA, which did much of the early work on development of database management software.

HP began notifying some industry analysts of Lewis' resignation earlier this month, and there had been some speculation that he would join EMC.

Lewis, also a former high-flying Compaq Computer storage executive, did not receive the top storage position at HP, following the company's acquisition of Compaq earlier this year. That job - head of network storage solutions - went to Howard Elias, who also came from Compaq following the merger.

One analyst said that Elias' extensive experience as a senior level manager is what HP needed most, as it goes through the difficult transition of combining HP and Compaq management teams.

"The reality is that in the HP and Compaq merger there were a lot of extra managers, and the challenge ahead for HP is to merge these two companies, which is more of a political issue than a storage or server issue," said Carolyn DiCenzo, chief analyst for storage management software at Gartner. "Elias has been around in senior management circles and is certainly well equipped to work the politics and deal with the issues involved."

Lewis, however, has a strong technical background and a proven track record in developing Compaq's storage software products. These skills could be useful for EMC, as it tries to add software and services revenue to its hardware business, DiCenzo said.

"Mark has a lot of expertise as a storage guy," she said. "He launched the Compaq software group and developed a full line of software products.

"EMC is trying to change from primarily hardware to a balance between software, services and hardware. To do that you have to bring new people in."

In addition, Lewis will be able to turn to Rothnie during the transition since the veteran is staying on as an advisor. "The nice thing is that Rothnie can work with the new managers and work them on the EMC structure while still taking a step back," DiCenzo said. "That's an ideal role."

Lewis' departure has caused a small political rift between HP and EMC. EMC claims Lewis' title at HP was vice-president of worldwide marketing and solutions for HP's Network Storage Solutions Group. An HP spokeswoman, however, denied that Lewis ever took on the title of vice-president, saying he was worldwide head of marketing at HP. However a number of recent documents on HP's Web site do list Lewis as vice-president of network storage solutions.

Meanwhile, EMC has also named David Goulden as executive vice-president of global marketing and business development. Goulden, 43, previously served at Amsterdam services provider Getronics as president and chief operating officer for the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions. Both Lewis and Gould will report to Joe Tucci, EMC's president and chief executive officer.

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