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Hadoop hurler Hortonworks votes Tibco veteran for president

Corporate veteran to re-invigorate big-data sales

Hortonworks has named Raj Verma as its new president and chief operating officer in the latest of a string of shakeups designed to reinvigorate the Hadoop business following sliding sales.

The Santa Clara-based business announced the departure of its former president, Herb Cunitz, alongside its second-quarter results last year. At the time, Cunitz was bid a polite farewell by CEO Rob Bearden, whose comments made more mention of Cunitz's own ambitions to become a CEO and less of the company's deepening operating losses.

The roles of president and chief operating officer have been vacant until now. Verma will arrive on Monday into the relative vacuum of Hortonworks' sales departments, with a number of workers being laid off last year as part of what the company described as "a shifting sales model".

He was previously COO at enterprise software business TIBCO, where Hortonworks describe him as being "instrumental in taking TIBCO from $300m to more than $1bn in annual revenue."

Hortonworks prized Verma away after 13-years at Tibco, where he'd ascended from sales director for Asia and had served as executive veep of worldwide sales and chief marketing officer.

"Raj is a proven sales leader and has successfully scaled enterprise sales teams to significantly accelerate revenue growth," said Rob Bearden, Hortonwork's chief executive officer. "I am very excited to welcome Raj to Hortonworks and know he has the right experience to further propel Hortonworks on its mission to manage the world's data."

Of what changes Verma might bring there was little mention. The man said: "It's a privilege to join the Hortonworks team and I look forward to working with customers to continue to deliver transformational impact to their businesses."

Working with customers might be a sore spot for Hortonworks. As Rob Bearden told us last year, the business's services, largely training and consulting work, carried a "terrible" margin between how much they brought in and cost to deliver.

In its last quarterly filing with the SEC, Hortonworks told investors it did "not expect to be profitable in the near future" and had lost over $64m from operations.

It retained total current assets of $167.7m, however, and said it would continue investing in its "operational and administrative functions including, but not limited to, our customer support organization that provides the basis for customer retention and further expansion". ®

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