HP Strategy Chief Robison to Retire, HP to Eliminate Position

HP executive Shane Robison, who oversaw R&D and was a key figure in major deals since the controversial Compaq merger, is retiring Nov. 1, and HP officials said they will not fill the position.

The executive shakeup at Hewlett-Packard is continuing, with Shane Robison, an 11-year veteran of the tech giant and a member of the company's Executive Council, retiring after this month.

HP announced Oct. 20 that Robison, who joined HP from Compaq and was a key figure behind the controversial merger of the two PC giants, will retire effective Nov. 1. He is an executive vice president and HP's chief strategy and technology officer, and has been an important figure in molding HP's technology direction, steering how the company spent its R&D dollars and spearheading many of the vendor s largest acquisitions, including EDC, 3Com, Opsware and Mercury Interactive.

HP also announced that the company is phasing out the role of chief strategy and technology officer, opting instead to bring strategy and R&D closer to the company 's business, HP said in a statement.

The announcement of Robison's impending retirement comes during a turbulent time for HP. New CEO Meg Whitman is in the processing of reassessing the company's direction after taking over from her predecessor, Leo Apotheker, who was in the job for less than a year. Apotheker s tenure was marked by disappointing financial forecasts, falling stock prices and jarring changes of direction in the vendor s strategy.

For example, less than a year after buying Palm for $1.2 billion and gaining the webOS mobile operating system, HP rolled out its webOS-based TouchPad tablet, and talked up bringing the OS to other devices, from smartphones to PCs. However, after a few weeks of disappointing sales, HP not only discontinued the TouchPad, but all webOS-based devices. Robison reportedly had been put in charge of webOS following Apotheker's decision to cut webOS-based devices.

Apotheker also announced plans to spin off HP's market-leading PC business in an effort to focus more effort and money into building the company's enterprise software and services capabilities.

Whitman reportedly is reconsidering whether HP will retain the PC business, and has said she hopes to make a final decision sometime this month.

Whitman, who has been on HP s board of directors since January, praised Robison's work at the company.

"Shane has been a powerful innovator for our business groups and other corporate divisions," she said. "His passion for research and development has ensured that innovation continues at HP."

This article was originally published on 10-21-2011
eWeek eWeek

Have the latest technology news and resources emailed to you everyday.

Click for a full list of Newsletterssubmit