FacePalm: HP Loses VP of Product Management for webOS to Numenta
The brain drain at Hewlett-Packard’s Palm unit continues with another departure. This one is particularly high profile, though it seems to have gone unnoticed.
Joe Hayashi, VP of product management for webOS, left the company in March for the VP of marketing gig at Numenta, a machine learning start-up led by Palm founder Jeff Hawkins and former Palm CEO Donna Dubinsky.
Hayashi’s exit comes at an inopportune time for Palm, which is gearing up to launch its new tablet, the TouchPad, and extend its webOS platform to other devices and form factors, including the PC. He’s been with Palm since 2009 and has been one of its public faces recently. In fact, he was onstage in Barcelona last month talking up webOS at HP’s App Developer Conference at Mobile World Congress (see video below).
Hayashi’s departure is clearly a loss for Palm, though the company has already replaced him with Lee Ott, formerly senior director of local at Yahoo. Still, coming as it does after some other notable exits, it has sparked renewed concerns that the Palm unit is having trouble holding on to its talent. “I worry about brain drain over there,” a source close to the company told me. “I hope they can keep it together long enough for their tablets to potentially gain some traction in the market.”