Arik Hesseldahl

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HP Names Microsoft Exec Robert Youngjohns to Run Autonomy

The search is over. Hewlett-Packard just announced that it has named Microsoft’s North American President Robert Youngjohns to run its Autonomy software division.

The hiring caps a search that began in earnest in June, following the May 23 departure by that unit’s former CEO Mike Lynch.

Before Microsoft, Youngjohns worked at Callidus Software, Sun Microsystems and IBM.

He’s English, which is good since Autonomy is, too. He’s an Oxford University grad with a PhD Masters Degree in Physics. According to a profile for the executive search firm Sterling-Hoffman, straight out of school he went to work for the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ. This is the British equivalent of the National Security Agency, though he doesn’t talk much about what he did there.

Youngjohns will have his work cut out for him. 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. During two earnings conference calls with analysts and in a June interview with AllThingsD, Whitman faulted Autonomy’s team for its difficulty in closing deals teed up by HP’s sales team.

Autonomy’s integration into HP is the last bit of messy business left over from the memorable day last August, when then-CEO Léo Apotheker announced plans to spin off the PC business, acquire Autonomy for an eye-popping $10.7 billion plus the assumption of debt, and then wrapped it all up with a nasty earnings miss. By September, Apotheker was out of a job, and Whitman was his replacement.

Here’s a video of Youngjohns from 2010 talking about Microsoft Office.

Robert Youngjohns Video from Advaiya Videos on Vimeo.

HP’s announcement is below.

HP Appoints Robert Youngjohns Senior Vice President and General Manager, Autonomy/Information Management Business Unit

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 7, 2012 — HP today announced that it has appointed Robert Youngjohns senior vice president and general manager, Autonomy/Information Management (IM) business unit, effective Sept. 17, 2012. Youngjohns will report directly to George Kadifa, executive vice president, HP Software.
In this role, Youngjohns will help build on the strong information management and analytics software that the Autonomy/IM business has developed. 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.
“Robert’s background of strong business and leadership excellence makes him ideally suited to lead this business,” said Kadifa. “I am excited to see the guidance he will bring to our Autonomy/IM business and the insights and perspectives he will add to the HP Software leadership team.”
Youngjohns joins HP from Microsoft where he was president of the North American region. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was president and CEO of Callidus Software. Before that, he spent 10 years at Sun Microsystems, where he had a variety of leadership positions in sales and general management both regionally and globally. Robert also had a successful 18-year career at IBM and held key leadership roles from deep technology specialization to general management.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus