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HP Taps Former Microsoft Exec To Lead Autonomy Division

Former Microsoft executive Robert Youngjohns will join Hewlett-Packard Co. as general manager and senior vice president of the company's Autonomy division.

Youngjohns was most recently the president of Microsoft North America, a position he has held since 2007, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has also served as president and CEO of Callidus Software and spent 10 years as an executive vice president at Sun Microsystems.

"Youngjohns will help build on the strong information management and analytics software that the Autonomy/IM [Information Management] business has developed," HP announced on Friday. "The unit is focused on helping customers analyze and draw business value from unstructured information. He will also help with the recently announced integration of the unit into HP Software as it aims to operate as a singular intact business."

HP acquired Autonomy, a provider of enterprise search, governance and archiving solutions based in Cambridge, U.K., last fall as part of a series of bombshell announcements. The Palo Alto, Calif. company surprised the technology sector in August 2011 when it publicly considered discontinuing its line of TouchPad devices, licensing out its webOS platform and exiting the PC business altogether. Buried in the tumult was was news that HP had also purchased Autonomy for $10.3 billion.

The acquisition was not short of doubters. "The fact that HP is using the bulk of its $13 billion in cash reserves to acquire Autonomy, which will only account for 1 percent of HP's revenues, has not been well received," noted RCP Editor at Large Jeffrey Schwartz at the time. "HP has signaled that it is transforming itself from a consumer and enterprise company to just an enterprise company, following in the footsteps of IBM...But will Autonomy get HP there? And is the company squandering its cash reserves at that price tag, which is nearly 11 times revenues?"

In the months following the acquisition, HP replaced its embattled CEO Leo Apotheker with former eBay executive Meg Whitman, decided to salvage its PC business, ceased production of the TouchPad and open-sourced webOS. It has also announced plans to shed 27,000 employees and acknowledged the difficulty in integrating Autonomy into its existing business.

"Since HP closed on its acquisition of Autonomy 11 months ago, the unit hasn't met expectations, and CEO Meg Whitman has made no secret about being unhappy about it," wrote AllThingsD's Arik Hesseldahl, referring to an interview with Whitman in June. In that interview, Whitman told AllThingsD that Autonomy had problems closing deals set up by HP.

Youngjohns' new role will take effect on Sept. 17, according to HP's announcement. He will report to Executive Vice President of HP Software George Kadifa. Autonomy's previous CEO and co-founder, Mike Lynch, left the company in May, part of a series of executive departures since being acquired by HP.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.