Arik Hesseldahl

Recent Posts by Arik Hesseldahl

Where in the World Is HP’s Prith Banerjee Going? Answer: Zurich.

Yesterday, I brought you the news that Prith Banerjee, the head of HP Labs, is resigning to take a position at another company. What I didn’t know, and couldn’t pry out of my sources, was where the heck he was going.

Now I know the answer: Zurich. As in Switzerland. Banerjee is going to be the Chief Technology Officer of the Swiss industrial-tech giant ABB.

What is ABB? I don’t know very much about it, either. But it has popped up on my radar screen in the past. In 2010, when I wrote this Bloomberg Businessweek story about the Stuxnet worm that targeted computers involved in the control of industrial equipment, I learned that several companies make programmable logic controllers and other gear that might in theory be attacked by a Stuxnet-like worm. ABB is one of them.

That’s not exactly a headline for what the company does. It’s actually pretty big. It has 134,000 employees around the world, and has been in existence for almost 130 years. It specializes in heavy power-management gear and automation equipment that is used in industrial settings.

ABB announced the news in a press release that hit the wires overnight, and which I have shared below:

ABB appoints Prith Banerjee to Executive Committee as Chief Technology Officer

Banerjee to join ABB from Hewlett Packard, to start new role midyear 2012

Zurich, Switzerland, April 5, 2012 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has appointed Prith Banerjee to its Executive Committee in the role of Chief Technology Officer. Banerjee, 51, will start midyear 2012 and will be based in Zurich.

He joins ABB from Hewlett Packard, where he was Senior Vice President of Research and Director of HP Labs. Prior to that, Banerjee was Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, as well as Dean of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Banerjee has also held senior positions at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at Northwestern University. In 2000, he founded AccelChip, Inc., a developer of products and services for electronic design automation that was acquired by Xilinx in 2006. He succeeds Peter Terwiesch, who became head of ABB in Germany and manager of ABB’s Central Europe region in July 2011.

“Prith is a creative and entrepreneurial researcher and executive with a wealth of experience in the business and academic worlds,” said Joe Hogan, ABB’s chief executive officer. “He is well placed to help ABB build on its heritage of technology innovation and leadership.”

Banerjee has a Bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and a Master’s degree and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois, Urbana.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 135,000 people.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald