Autonomy founder exit from HP ‘counter-intuitive’

May 25th, 2012 by simran Leave a reply »

Six executives including Lynch had exited the company, according to a statement Thursday by Autonomy. Other departed top executives included its chief research officer Peter Menell, COO Andrew Kanter, and chief marketing officer Nicole Eagan.

Lynch will leave the company after handing over the reins to HP software head Bill Veghte. While Autonomy declined to give any reasons for the executive exodus, HP said it was “very common and very natural” for entrepreneurs to move on following an acquisition.

HP said during an earnings call Wednesday: “Autonomy had a very disappointing license revenue quarter, with a significant decline year-over-year resulting in a shortfall to our expectations. To help improve Autonomy’s performance, Veghte, HP’s chief strategy officer and executive vice president of HP software, will step in to lead Autonomy.” It added that Lynch would leave “after a transition period”.

In a statement Friday, Ovum’s chief IT analyst Tim Jennings questioned if Lynch’s departure was “counter-intuitive” particularly when HP’s intent to reinvest in research and development (R&D) after announcing plans to lay off 27,000 employees.

“Lynch is a technology visionary and parting company on the basis of poor sales execution in the division, indicates HP has struggled to create a clear vision for how to leverage its very expensive acquisition.

“Since the acquisition, HP has allowed Autonomy to run autonomously–admittedly somewhat at Lynch’s behest–including maintaining separate R&D functions, but this has made it difficult to benefit from the company’s core technology within the broader HP portfolio, just at a time when it is one of the hottest areas for enterprise investment,” Jennings surmised.

He said the IT vendor would have benefitted from better tapping Lynch’s talent across its software business, instead of letting him remain at arm’s length, and subsequently having Lynch shoulder the blame for poor sales execution.

The Ovum analyst advised enterprises to “exercise caution” in any planned, new or increased investments in Autonomy products, until HP came up with a clear roadmap for the technology–both as a standalone offering, and as part of its wider portfolio.



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