Hyde quit NEC to run HP’s Enterprise division



Correction: This article initially stated that Alan Hyde had been appointed to lead HP’s local Enterprise Services division, which sells IT services. In fact, Hyde has been appointed to lead HP’s similarly named Enterprise Group, which sells IT products, such as servers, storage and networking equipment.

news Seasoned Australian technology executive Alan Hyde left his managing director role at NEC to lead the South Pacific division of HP’s Enterprise Group, it has been revealed.

Hyde (see his LinkedIn profile here) was the first non-Japanese executive to lead NEC in Australia. He was appointed in October 2010 after a career in senior positions at SAP and PeopleSoft and oversaw a period of rapid expansion and corporate change for NEC in Australia, during which it bought the Technology Solutions arm of locally listed company CSG for up to $260 million and sold its Nextep broadband division to AAPT.

The executive had been leading a strategy of transforming NEC Australia away from its roots offering corporate telephony solutions and into a new future as an IT services powerhouse, which was seeing the company go up against established players in the market such as IBM, CSC, Fujitsu and HP Enterprise Services, the division of the company formed when HP bought EDS in 2008.

However, in late January this year, NEC Australia announced a replacement for Hyde, NEC Australia chief planning officer Tetsuro Akagi, without mentioning Hyde’s departure. It was unclear what had prompted Hyde to resign.

This week, it was revealed that Hyde had taken a position as Vice President and General Manager of HP’s Enterprise Group in its South Pacific region. HP’s Enterprise Group does not deal with IT services, but instead sells IT products, such as servers, storage and networking. The executive appears to have been in the position for about a month, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The news comes as HP has also recently appointed several other senior positions above and alongside Hyde’s new role. Late last year, David Caspari, the managing director of HP’s entire South Pacific business, resigned; as did Alan Bennett, the leader of HP’s Enterprise Services business. They were both replaced by Nick Wilson, HP’s previous vice president of its UK and Ireland division.

The news of his appointment to run HP’s Enterprise Group will place Hyde in prime position to eventually make a run at leading HP’s entire Australian business. The executive has diverse experience leading major technology companies in Australia; from January 2007 through January 2008 he led the Australia and New Zealand business of German software giant SAP, before taking up the NEC role, which he held for three and a half years.

Hyde is well-regarded in the industry, and it is believed his time at NEC is looked on favourably by the company’s Japanese management. However, it was also not without its challenges. Shortly after Hyde’s departure from NEC, the company’s new local managing director Akagi issued an email to the company’s staff noting that the group is facing “immediate profitability challenges” despite having a “very healthy” pipeline of contracts.

I suspected that Hyde had taken one of the several vacant senior roles at HP when he resigned from NEC; this doesn’t come as a surprise.

Obviously it’s a great career move and will come with a hefty pay jump, massively increased responsibilities and oversight of many more staff. Few could fault Hyde’s move. However, I will say that I suspect the executive will wind up disappointed by the shift in some ways. It’s always more fun running a challenger company like NEC that’s sticking it to the big guns, than trying to run a huge organisation like HP Enterprise Group, which is constantly having to restructure and make cuts in various divisions. I suspect Hyde will have more responsibilities at HP, but less actual control. As Steve Jobs once famously said, it’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy.

Image credit: NEC