Sixteen-year Xerox veteran Steve Hoover was introduced Jan. 11 as the new chief executive officer of the company's Palo Alto Research Center.
Hoover's appointment follows previous CEO Mark Bernstein's retirement from PARC. Bernstein had held the position for 31 years, guiding the think tank through its formative years and to its incorporation as a wholly owned, yet independent, subsidiary of Xerox in 2002.
Hoover joins PARC from its parent company, where he was most recently vice president of the software and electronics development group in Rochester, N.Y. In that role, Hoover directed more than $175 million of research and development investments that support multiple software and electronics platforms for some 30 Xerox products.
Hoover's new position is going to entail as much sales and marketing responsibility as research, due to PARC's longtime entrepreneurial approach. PARC has served as an IT incubator of sorts for a number of different startups in the green IT, Web development, IT infrastructure and network communications businesses.
"I've spent my career at Xerox in innovation, in one way or the other," Hoover told eWEEK. "The toughest thing to do is to take an existing big business and get it to invest in new technologies and create new business opportunities. I've done that over my time at Xerox on the innovation and engineering sides.
"PARC is in the business of innovation. That is their business model: How do we invest and innovate for our clients, for other companies, for the government? How do we do it with startups, and how do we do it with Xerox?"
With Xerox since 1994
Hoover joined Xerox in 1994 and has held a variety of research, development, and engineering positions, including vice president of the Xerox Research Center of Webster, N.Y. There, Hoover, was responsible for research and development in services, imaging, cross-media, and hardware technologies that advance Xerox's document technology, solutions, and services portfolio.
"Steve is not only a respected researcher but also an effective leader," said Sophie Vandebroek, Xerox chief technology officer and president of the Xerox Innovation Group.
Hoover received his bachelor's degree from Cornell University and master's and Ph.D. degrees from Carnegie Mellon University. He will take over the CEO position on Feb. 1.
PARC celebrated its 40th birthday on Sept. 23, 2010 with a half-day event at its San Francisco Bay area foothills campus.
In 2002, PARC was incorporated as a wholly owned yet independent subsidiary company of Xerox. Currently, PARC has a long list of customers, with about 40 percent of its business from Xerox and 30 percent from government contracts. Its 2009 revenue was about $60 million.
Many familiar inventions were dreamed up at PARC, including the graphical user interface for computers, laser printing, computer programming languages, Ethernet networking and VLSI (very large-scale integration) circuit design.