Lewis Hiring Points to EMCs Focus on Software

EMC Corp.'s hiring last week of Mark Lewis, former head of Compaq Computer Corp.'s storage division, is the latest step in the company's push into software.

EMC Corp.s hiring last week of Mark Lewis, former head of Compaq Computer Corp.s storage division, is the latest step in the companys push into software.

Lewis took over as executive vice president of new ventures and chief technology officer at the Hopkinton, Mass., company. He had been vice president and general manager of enterprise storage at Compaq but had only a marketing role when the company was bought by Hewlett-Packard Co. in May.

EMC officials said they expect Lewis to help with modular storage, midrange storage, Windows-based storage and vendor interoperability—all areas where Compaq was more successful than EMC—and with incubating in-house projects and any startups EMC acquires. He replaced Jim Rothnie, who is now CTO emeritus.

Analyst and user reaction to the hiring of Lewis was mixed. Most agree the mechanical engineer is a good spokesman and strategist, but theres no consensus on his ability to replace Rothnie, who earned a doctorate in database systems management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Mark Cornelius, senior technology manager at Borden Chemical Inc., which runs a data center with EMC and Compaq hardware, said Lewis will inject a much-needed, new viewpoint. "Theyll probably look to him for an approach thatll be competitive," said Cornelius in Columbus, Ohio. "They need someone to lead who can get those products to market in a cost-competitive manner and not ride on the leg up they dont have anymore."

At EMC, Lewis joins other recent hires, such as Chris Gahagan, vice president of open-software product management, from BMC Software Inc.; David Goulden, executive vice president of global marketing and business development, from Getronics N.V.; Pete Conway, vice president of software product management, from Microsoft Corp.; and board of directors member Gail Deegan, a former chief financial officer at Houghton Mifflin Co. All are part of EMCs effort to recruit outsiders, a spokesman said—and, sources said, to phase out the Old Guard, such as Rothnie and Moshe Yanai, an original EMC engineer whose role changed last fall to being President and CEO Joe Tuccis adviser.