Woz's Company Fusion-IO Just Hired The Guy Meg Whitman Blamed For The Autonomy Disaster
Shane Robison, Fusion-IO's new CEO
Shane Robison, whose last job was Chief Strategy Officer at Hewlett Packard, has landed a job as CEO and chairman of hot flash storage company, Fusion-IO.
Investors are not happy. Shares of Fusion-IO have plummeted this morning and are down 22%.
The hiring of Robison is an interesting move. Robison left HP in October, just a few weeks before HP CEO Meg Whitman announced a massive $8.8 billion write-off of its $11 billion acquisition of Autonomy. Whitman said HP had discovered $5 billion worth of fraud on Autonomy's books.
She publicly blamed Robison for the mess and shrugged off blame from HP's board. Whitman was a board member before she became CEO, and she was on the board when HP bought Autonomy. The accusation against Robison upset some HP insiders who had worked with him during his 11 years at HP and respected him.
Robison was also involved in some of HP's biggest mergers including Compaq, Mercury Interactive, Opsware, EDS and 3Com.
Under Whitman's leadership, HP has taken big write-offs on EDS ($8 billion) and Compaq ($1.2 billion).
Now Robison is running arguably one of the most important enterprise storage companies. Fusion-IO makes flash-memory based storage for enterprises and has helped spawn an entirely new market.
Fusion-IO also employs another famous tech personality, Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak.
it is not a bad choice at all. FIO badly need to expands into Enterprise market beyond isolated data centers whose sales can be very lumpy. Shane's experience with large enterprises match that demand perfectly.
Marc Andreessen, the legendary cofounder of Netscape and technology investor at Andreessen Horowitz, chairs that committee
Here's how HP describes the committee's role:
The Technology Committee ... reviews and makes recommendations on proposed investment, acquisition, joint venture and divestiture transactions with a value of at least $200 million that involve technology prior to any review by other Board Committees or the Board pursuant to HP’s M&A approval policies.
So of course Andreessen and his committee members signed off on the Autonomy deal.
"Shane and his organization could not even begin conversation with a company without board approval," one of our sources told us. "It wasn't like Shane and Léo said, 'Let's go talk to Autonomy,' and then presented it to the board when the deal was done."