EMC Snags Intel Exec, Shuffles Top Office to Deliver Blended Technologies

EMC (NYSE: EMC), the Hopkinton, MA-based information infrastructure company that anchors Boston’s infotech industry, today unveiled a series of executive-level changes intended to better integrate its disparate businesses, which range from storage, content management and archiving, security, and IT management to cloud computing services.

Most significantly, the company said it has hired veteran Intel executive Pat Gelsinger away from the giant chipmaker, where he ran its largest business group, and has given him the newly created title of President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Information Infrastructure Products.

Gelsinger will report to EMC chairman and CEO Joe Tucci, and will oversee EMC’s entire information infrastructure business—meaning all of EMC’s product divisions except VMware (NYSE: VMW). (EMC owns an 84 percent stake in the Palo Alto, CA, virtualization software maker, but treats it largely as a separate company; VMware president and chief operating officer Paul Maritz reports directly to Tucci.)

Gelsinger will also join the newly expanded “executive office of the chairman” at EMC, as will Howard Elias, who has been promoted to President and Chief Operating Officer, EMC Information Infrastructure and Cloud Services. Elias was formerly president of EMC’s Global Services division and its Ionix IT management group.

David Goulden, EMC’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, will also join the expanded executive office, which previously included only Tucci and EMC Vice Chairman Bill Teuber.

The existing presidents of EMC’s divisions–for example, Mark Lewis in the content management and archiving division, and Art Coviello in the RSA Security division—all remain in place. In essence, Gelsinger, 48, has been brought in to provide unified leadership for EMC’s entire line of software and hardware products businesses, while Elias, 52, will do the same thing on the services side. But they’ll both do it from within a tight-knit, cross-cutting executive office whose role, in part, will be to look for ways that EMC’s product innovation can benefit its services operations, and vice-versa.

“It’s a reorganization of the structure of how we bring our products and services together,” says Michael Gallant, an EMC analyst and media relations manager. “This is a signal that we will be continuing to deliver more joint solutions and developing long-term road maps with a lot of the different technologies from the different divisions together.”

Such a reorganization may be particularly important for EMC in an age of blending and interoperability, when technologies such as virtualization allow different software and operating systems to run on common hardware, and when large companies have technology from a wide range of vendors under the same roof.

Indeed, EMC may be counting on Gelsinger—who oversaw a panoply of enterprise products at Intel, including PCs, servers, and communications and storage products, not to mention its next-generation Nehalem microprocessor architecture—to bring more unity of vision to the Hopkinton company’s diverse portfolio, which has exploded over the past five years with the acquisition of roughly 40 companies.

“The totality of what EMC information infrastructure means to our customers worldwide has never been more critical,” Tucci said in a press statement today. “Pat’s three decades of technical and general management leadership experience will serve EMC’s customers well as they build out and blend their information infrastructures to better compete, reduce costs, minimize risk, and create ever-new levels of value from their information.”

But there may also be a simpler logic to Gelsinger’s hiring. EMC has spent years standardizing the architecture of its flagship Symmetrix storage servers around Intel’s Xeon processors, and the majority of VMware customers use its software to virtualize Intel-based servers. So it can’t hurt EMC to have a senior executive on board who is intimately familiar with Intel’s products and its technology roadmap. (Below, see an interesting YouTube video from last spring in which Gelsinger talks about the collaboration between Intel and EMC around V-Max, a variety of Intel-powered Symmetrix server that can be interconnected in huge pools to form a cloud computing infrastructure.)

EMC had one more announcement today: Tucci has informed EMC’s board that he will stay on as chairman and CEO through 2012. Meaning at least 2012—the announcement is in no way an indication that Tucci intends to retire at that time, according to Gallant.

Wade Roush is the producer and host of the podcast Soonish and a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @soonishpodcast

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