Hitachi Data, Fusion-io Get New Storage Chiefs -

Hitachi Data, Fusion-io Get New Storage Chiefs

Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) and Fusion-io both have new CEOs, big news for one of the data storage industry's top names and the startup that hired (NASDAQ: AAPL) co-founder Steve Wozniak.

HDS announced today that is promoting COO Jack Domme to CEO, succeeding Minoru Kosuge, who will become chairman. The change will become effective April 1.

The two officials assumed their current roles two years ago when then-CEO David Roberson departed for HP (NYSE: HPQ).

HDS officials aren't giving any reasons for the change, but analysts aren't worried about the high-end data storage competitor to EMC (NYSE: EMC) and IBM (NYSE: IBM), which posted high single-digit growth in the fourth quarter. They see the changes as an endorsement of Domme and a play for business in the U.S. and Europe for the California-based data storage arm of Japan's Hitachi (NYSE: HIT).

"Jack is a very capable person and his position is well-deserved in my opinion," said analyst Kaushik Roy of Pacific Growth Equities. "From HDS's standpoint, they really need a person from U.S./Europe to lead the company because this is where their market is. Even Sony has a CEO who is trained in and has relationships in the U.S./Europe — the same reason for HDS to choose Jack Domme. I think it is a positive for HDS."

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Brian Babineau said the move "indicates Hitachi's overall happiness with the strategic direction Mr. Domme has put into place at HDS, as well as the operational strength already demonstrated in achieving some of the goals. It also indicates that Hitachi is committed to having an industry and Hitachi veteran, rather than just a Hitachi veteran, run one of its core businesses.

"Jack knows the market extremely well and has built an extremely talented executive team to help create and execute a vision that is measured on traditional business metrics as well as customer satisfaction and HDS' overall contribution to Hitachi's portfolio," Babineau added.

Domme joined HDS in 2003, and before that worked at Storage Networks Inc. He started his career at HP in 1987. Kosuge is a 29-year veteran of Hitachi.

Domme said in a statement that HDS's "strategy is taking hold particularly in these economically challenging times because we enable customers to maximize the investment value and efficiencies of their storage environments. I look forward to leading the company as we continue our expansion in key growth areas where we can leverage our leadership in storage and data virtualization, such as file and content services and modular storage."

Fusion-io Gets New Chief, HP Deal

Fusion-io, which made headlines a month ago when it named Wozniak its chief scientist, also got a new CEO and a deal with HP to place its PCI-based flash drives in HP's blade servers.

General counsel David Bradford takes over from Don Basile ahead of the company's second-round funding announcement. Bradford worked at Novell with Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Both Bradford and Basile have been variously given credit for wooing Woz, but one company official said the entire executive staff was involved in recruiting Wozniak.

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