Banerjee’s last day is April 15, for a company outside the U.S. While the hunt is on for another HP Labs executive, Chandrakant Patel, a 25-year old HP Fellow and director of its Sustainable Ecosystems Research Group, will head up the R&D division.
Here is an interview that I did with Prith at HP Discover last year.
Prith is very smart and most likely got fed up with the HP board snafus. In the end HP Labs is one valuable organization. I’ve been critical of HP in the past for not taking advantage of their leadership. I even encouraged Prith (and Chandrakant) that they should spin out more ventures.
HP Labs is an important division for the company, and is the backbone of its new product efforts. HP spent $3.3 billion on R&D in 2011, which is around 2.5 percent of its sales. In fact, this division is of special concern for CEO Meg Whitman, who ordered HP Labs to report directly to her after joining in the organization.
Just last month, we heard about Chief Technical Officer Sam Greenbatt leaving his current post to take an undefined new role within the company. The senior executive is no longer at the forefront of webOS development, and will assume an undisclosed new role within the company.
Not only this, but HP suffered more loses at the senior level, including Dave Barr, the mastermind behind the lucrative LeftHand unit. Barr quit his job in favor of a better offer from Nirvanix, and vice President of cloud computing Emil Sayegh resigned as well to assume the role of CEO at Coderho.
It’s quite clear that HP is losing top talent in areas of innovation – both mobile and Labs. HP is in the midst of revamping its strategy around its products and mobility and cloud services, which are key to their future in diversified tactics. So it’s not a good sign to lose leaders in these areas.
But the silver lining, HP’s bringing in more executives to carry the torch. The company recently appointed Marc Levin for the role of senior vice president and controller. He will officially begin to carry out his duties under the new title starting May 1. Levin has been with HP for 24 years, a long tenure through which he has fulfilled several different positions within the company. Today he’s the senior vice president of Finance, and as of next month he’ll be reporting directly to chief financial officer Cathie Lesjak, from the former seat of Jim Murrin – now senior vice president and general manager of End-User Workplace and Managed Network Services.
Although Banerjee is a big loss for HP, HP needs to flex their technology muscle more in order to introduce new groundbreaking new products.