Arik Hesseldahl

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Hewlett-Packard Names Martin Fink CTO and Director of HP Labs

Hewlett-Packard just named a new executive as its CTO and head of the storied HP Labs research division. It’s Martin Fink, who has until recently run the Business Critical Server business.

Fink replaces Prith Banerjee, who left HP earlier this year to take a job as CTO of the Swiss industrial giant ABB.

In his capacity as head of BCS, the unit so badly hurt by the litigation with Oracle concerning Intel’s Itanium chip, Fink’s name figured prominently in a pair of dueling document drops by both HP and Oracle. It was Fink who was quoted in Oracle’s stack of released documents as saying that Intel would slap “high fives all around” at the prospect of shutting down the Itanium business, of which HP is the only significant customer.

In a separate cache of documents released by HP, he portrays Intel as ready to aggressively push ahead with the chip.

As we know, HP ultimately prevailed and Oracle was ordered by a judge to return to its previous honoring of an agreement to continue to make software that supports Itanium chips and the HP servers in which they’re installed.

Ric Lewis has been named to run that business unit for now. And the interim head of HP labs, Chandrakant Patel, has been named an HP Senior Fellow and Chief Engineer.

Here’s HP’s official announcement:

HP Promotes Martin Fink As New CTO and
Director of HP Labs

PALO ALTO, Calif., Nov. 1, 2012 — HP today announced that Martin Fink has
been promoted to Chief Technology Officer and Director of HP Labs.  In this
new role, Martin will report to Meg Whitman, Chief Executive Officer, and will
work closely with HP’s strategy teams to drive and accelerate the innovation
agenda for the company. As part of his role, Fink will be responsible for looking
holistically at how innovation is created and commercialized at HP. 

Over his 27-year career at HP, Fink worked in a wide range of roles from
customer support to consulting to leading the company’s Linux efforts.  Most
recently, Fink was senior vice president and general manager, Business Critical
Systems and Converged Application Systems, HP.

“Martin’s experience on the front lines with customers combined with his
experience in the business units will be invaluable as we work to focus our
innovation agenda at HP,” said Whitman. “Martin will ensure that our research
and development activity is aligned with our steady focus of anticipating and
delivering on the future needs of our customers.”

In addition, Chandrakant Patel, the interim lead for HP Labs, has been appointed
Senior Fellow and Chief Engineer for HP Labs.  Patel, who will report to Fink in
his new capacity, will ensure the right marriage of innovation with the business
units, work on how to evolve the CTO model and continue his research in end-to-
end design and management of HP infrastructure systems. Also, Ric Lewis will
be the interim general manager of the Business Critical Systems business unit.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work