Top HP exec Donatelli jumps ship to Oracle

31368-hi-David_Donatelli.jpgMultiple sources have told Business Insider that Hewlett-Packard Co. executive David Donatelli has jumped ship to one of the company’s biggest rivals – Oracle Corp. – where he’s taken up an executive vice president position within the firm’s hardware division.

Neither company has made any official comment on the move, but Business Insider claims Donatelli will be reporting directly to another ex-HP executive, Mark Hurd, who last year replaced Larry Ellison as Oracle CEO, a position he shares with Safra Catz.

That’s significant because Donatelli and Hurd are believed to be close – Donatelli worked alongside Hurd to engineer HP’s acquisition of the storage array vendor 3PAR Inc. back in September 2010.

Donatelli was once considered to be one of HP’s most powerful suits, serving as executive vice president of its Enterprise Systems division until Meg Whitman landed in the CEO’s chair to replace Hurd. Donatelli didn’t fare well under Whitman, with rumors circulating that he was eyeing HP’s top job for himself. As a result, Donatelli soon found himself relegated to a lesser role when Whitman decided the firm’s enterprise systems unit wasn’t performing quite as well as it should.

Donatelli ended up with the relatively unimportant job of looking for startups for HP to acquire, and Business Insider says he often preferred to work at the offices of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz instead of HP’s base in Palo Alto. Such was Donatelli’s dissatisfaction with his new job that he’s reportedly been looking to leave HP since at least February 2014.

“The conjecture was that when Hurd left, Donatelli lost his air cover and then slowly things unravelled,” said Wikibon Principal Analyst Dave Vellante. “His top sales guy, Randy Seidl, saw the writing on the wall and left HP, and that was the beginning of the end.”

It’s still unclear exactly what Donatelli will be tasked with in his new position, but given that he’s a hardware specialist with 22 years experience at EMC prior to his time at HP, he offers just the kind of talent Oracle needs as is bulks up its hardware base. While Oracle’s hardware business has been doing well of late, up 5 percent in the last quarter, Oracle is still primarily viewed as a software company.

“Going to Oracle under Hurd makes a lot of sense,” Vellante commented. “Donatelli is a task master and fits the Hurd mold of no-nonsense.”

Donatelli is a veteran of multiple appearances on SiliconANGLE’s theCUBE. His most recent appearance was in June, 2013 (below, 16:36)