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HP Names Veghte COO; Imports New Software Savior

Veghte is keeping the corporate strategy charter he was given a few months ago as well as responsibility for Autonomy

HP Wednesday named Bill Veghte chief operating officer, a newly created position that relieves the former Windows executive of running the company's poorly functioning software operation two years and three CEOs after he got the job.

Veghte is keeping the corporate strategy charter he was given a few months ago as well as responsibility for Autonomy, HP's great problematic British acquisition that he was given last week when Autonomy founder Mike Lynch was fired.

HP doesn't have much of a strategy, at least nothing that doesn't resemble what everybody else is doing and that - as of last week - is to focus on Big Data, cloud and security - all of which depend on software.

When HP reported its second fiscal quarter results last week it said its software revenues were up 22% to $970 million. Sources say most of that increase came from Autonomy whose license revenue suddenly declined "significantly" leading to Lynch's ouster. Autonomy was reportedly on a billion-dollar run rate when HP got it. It isn't anymore. Otherwise HP's software business is flat at best.

To run software HP has imported George Kadifa from Silver Lake, the private equity house.

Presumably it expects him to behave like a dealmaker and bring in more acquisitions even if acquisitions like Autonomy - and it's whispered ArcSight - haven't thrived under HP.

Given the state of hostilities that exists between Oracle and HP, it should probably be noted that Kadifa used to be an executive at Oracle. Subsequently he started Corio, an applications management firm that was bought in 2005 by IBM where he was made general manager of its applications-on-demand group and given a role at IBM Global Services.

HP, which made no mention of Kadifa's Oracle past, described his role at Silver Lake as an "operating partner for the Value Creation Team...responsible for driving operational improvement and growth in a wide range of enterprises within the 24-company portfolio of the firm's large-cap investment fund."

Veghte, who used to run marketing and business development for Windows, left Microsoft after 19 years there when he was passed over for president of the Windows Division, a job Steven Sinofsky got. Veghte was hired by then HP CEO Mark Hurd.

There has been some speculation that the promotion may put Veghte in line to succeed CEO Meg Whitman considering the revolving door on HP's executive suite and the company's claim that the next one will come from within. It could affect contenders like David Donatelli, who's running enterprise servers, storage and networking, and Todd Bradley, who's running PCs and printing.

Both Veghte and Kadifa will report directly to Whitman. Kadifa will join the HP executive council.

HP reportedly tried to hire John Swainson, the ex-CEO of CA and the guy who did WebSphere at IBM, out of Silver Lake. He's now at Dell running software trying to limit its dependence on PCs.

Separately, HP has also found a slot to put its former short-lived enterprise sales chief Jan Zadak who seemed out of a job in the last reorg. He's going to be president of Enterprise Service in EMEA. It's a nasty job but somebody's got to do it. Services are supposedly going to suffer a lot of Whitman's 27,000 layoffs and Europe is no picnic right now, she said last week.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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