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Top IT sales guy leaves HP

'The time was right'

IT industry juggernaut Hewlett-Packard is parting ways with Tom Hogan, its top sales person for IT products.

Hogan joined HP in 2006 to beef up the company's software business, and in the three years Hogan ran HP Software, the company made a number of big acquisitions, including the $4.5bn in shelled out for Mercury Interactive in July 2006 and the $1.4bn it paid for Opsware a year later.

In April 2010, Hogan was tapped to be executive vice president of sales and marketing for HP's Enterprise Business group, and has since that time been revamping the company's sales and marketing operations across servers, storage, networking, services, and software. The Enterprise Business accounted for just under half of HP's $126bn in revenues in its latest fiscal year.

Presumably, many of the impenetrable HP marketing slogans and product names – the latest being the Instant-On Enterprise – can be attributed to Hogan, not necessarily because he created them but because he ultimately signed off on them. Modern IT vendors seem to name stuff to actually make sales more difficult and products less understandable, and there must be some kind of science to it that escapes IT buyers. Perhaps a kind of reverse psychology is at work.

In a statement put out by HP, Hogan is credited with accelerated hiring in the sales and marketing team, building a "sales university", and launching the Instant-On Enterprise strategy for business and governments. "With the achievement of these milestones, Hogan felt the time was right for him to pursue other interests," HP's statement reads. Hogan will remain at HP until May 31 to ensure a smooth transition.

Hogan got his start in the IT racket back in 1982, selling System/3X proprietary midrange systems for IBM, and eventually rose to head up sales for the Americas region. He jumped to Siebel Systems and was senior vice president of sales at the CRM application pioneer, and is credited with helping quadruple the company's sales. After that, Hogan was president and CEO at Vignette, a maker of content management system software, which he built up through acquisitions. HP Software tripled revenues under Hogan's tenure.

You might guess that there's probably not enough room for two software experts in the boardroom at HP, and Leo Apotheker, HP's new president and CEO – who was once CEO of software giant SAP – would no doubt outrank Hogan. And that this may be the reason he is leaving. But it is just as plausible that the real issue is that Apotheker wants someone else running sales and marketing for the corporate side of the HP business.

HP has tapped Jan Zadak, who is currently managing director of HP's EMEA unit, to take over from Hogan on May 1. Zadak was appointed to that position a year ago, when Hogan moved over to the sales and marketing spot in Enterprise Business, and was previously SVP of sales for the Enterprise Business unit in the EMEA region, working for Ann Livermore when she controlled all of the corporate business at HP. Jadak is from the Czech Republic and graduated from the Czech Technical University in Prague with an electrical engineering degree. He worked for five years at Olivetti's Czech unit from 1992 through 1997, and then joined Compaq as a manager for Central and Eastern Europe as well as the Middle East and Africa in various roles. Once HP acquired Compaq, Jadak took over the management of the top accounts in EMEA for HP. ®

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