Spotlighting the rivalry between archrivals Hewlett-Packard Co. and Dell Inc., HP has recruited former Dell CIO Randall D. "Randy" Mott to oversee its internal IT department.
Mott is well known on the CIO circuit, having earned a reputation during 22 years at Wal-Mart, and five at Dell, for introducing IT initiatives that had a direct and positive impact on the bottom line.
"This is a huge coup for HP," said analyst Cathy Hotka, senior vice president of technology and business development for Arlington, Va.-based Retail Industry Leaders Association.
"Randy Mott is a visionary who understands execution," said Hotka, who has followed Mott's career and retail successes while at Dell.
Mott has held a CIO title at Dell since 2000. He was also a Dell senior vice president and a member of its Global Executive Management Committee. "His role at Dell went way beyond being CIO," Hotka said. "He was the architect of Dell becoming a real provider to retail. Dell is now outselling nearly everyone else in terms of retail. That's his baby."
HP and Dell compete fiercely for server and PC sales. Now they have apparently made a contest of recruiting executive talent. Last month, Dell announced it had hired Brad Anderson, the executive who had overseen HP's Proliant server strategy. In a press release issued yesterday, HP said Mott would report directly to its CEO Mark Hurd, and Mott's responsibilities would "include all application development, data management, technology infrastructure, data center operations and telecommunication networks worldwide."
Gilles Bouchard has served since 2003 as HP's CIO. Bouchard will remain executive vice president of global operations. According to the HP release, the dividing of HP's global operations and IT roles follows recent moves to split executive vice president roles that combined leadership for the company's sales and marketing functions and for the company's Imaging and Printing Group and Personal Systems Group.
This morning, word spread through CIO circles that Mott would be employed by HP starting next week. To many, it was perceived as a huge victory for HP. "This is a bad thing for Dell," said Rich DeBrino, CIO of both Compass Health and wholly owned IT consulting company, Advances in Technology (AIT). Like many IT executives, DeBrino is familiar with Mott's reputation. "I was really surprised," DeBrino said. "I just saw him and [Dell CEO] Kevin Rollins. You don't expect changes like that. Dell is a stable company and big people like that don't usually leave."
For HP, DeBrino said, Mott's arrival is a chance to overcome a rollercoaster year that has included former CEO Carly Fiorina being ousted and reports of slipping market shares.
"They need to get some credibility back," DeBrino said. "And Mott is well known because you can look at how efficient Dell is. It's straightforward," DeBrino said. "If he can bring that same feeling to HP, then Dell is in trouble. This guy is good."