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EMC continues to corral industry talent

EMC's continued coup of storage talent has given the company an impressive lineup of executives, which some experts say is unmatched in the industry.

It appears EMC has become a magnet for top storage talent.

Last week, Hewlett-Packard Co., storage executive Mark Lewis, formerly the top dog at Compaq Computer Corp., defected to EMC to replace Jim Rothnie as chief technology officer.

Bringing Lewis to its Hopkinton, Mass., headquarters is the latest addition to the company's rank and file. EMC also announced the addition of former BMC Software vice president Chris Gahagan to oversee the development of EMC's storage infrastructure software, the main component of EMC's open storage software development efforts and part of the EMC AutoIS (Automated Information Storage) strategy. The storage giant also recently hired Peter Conway, Microsoft's former senior director of the Windows .NET server solutions group.

"Why can't the other companies steal critical talent? Gahagan, Conway, and now Lewis. EMC is creating a stud farm from outsiders, which is very rare in EMC-ville, mind you," said Steve Duplessie, founder and senior analyst for the Enterprise Storage Group, Milford, Mass.

"Lewis has to be considered one of the two or three best minds inside the storage business of Hewlett-Packard, and in my opinion, the real thought leader of the bunch," Duplessie said.

EMC's current CTO, Jim Rothnie will retire from his day-to-day role and become CTO Emeritus, continuing to advise EMC on technology issues, the company said.

"With Mark's arrival and Jim's continuing role, our bench strength has never been stronger on the technology side," stated Joe Tucci, EMC's chief executive officer.

John Webster, senior analyst and founder of the Data Mobility Group Inc., Nashua, N.H., said the appointment of Lewis as CTO proves EMC is more serious than ever about its software efforts.

"Mark brings a deep background in the development of storage related software products. He also has an understanding of virtualization trials and tribulations," said Webster.

Webster added that he would not be surprised to see Rothnie resurface at a startup in the not-too-distant future.

In a separate move, outsider Gail Deegan was recently elected to EMC's board of directors. Deegan, a former executive vice president and chief financial officer of Houghton Mifflin Co., has been appointed to the board's Audit Committee. Deegan fills a vacant seat on EMC's Board, which will now comprise eight members, with one vacancy remaining.

EMC has been criticized in the past for only appointing board members with tight relationships to EMC. Deegan's appointment is being praised because she is an outsider, and also because she brings much needed diversity to the board. Others say Deegan's appointment was an attempt to bring some professional financial management onto the board to shortcut any accounting problems. Let us know what you think about the story, e-mail Kevin Komiega, News Writer


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