Palm Pre designer doesn't stick around long at HP

Peter Skillman was with Palm for 11 years and was the guy in charge of the Pre. Now, just weeks after HP's takeover, he's yet another exec involved with the Pre to exit.

Barely six weeks into Hewlett-Packard's takeover of Palm, yet another key executive has apparently left the company.

Palm Pre
The Palm Pre.

TechCrunch says it has confirmed that Palm's vice president of design, Peter Skillman, has decided to leave HP, though where he will work next isn't clear.

An HP spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that Skillman's departure took place "about a month ago."

An 11-year Palm veteran, Skillman is known as the guy who masterminded the Palm Pre, the device that was supposed to save Palm and make a serious dent in the iPhone's success. Neither ended up happening, and HP swooped in to purchase the ailing smartphone maker earlier this year.

Of course, Skillman isn't the most high-profile person to leave HP this week--not even close. CEO Mark Hurd made a shocking exit on Friday following charges of sexual harassment and misreported expenses.

But Skillman's decision to leave would mean that most of the top team responsible for designing the Pre are gone. Matias Duarte, who created the WebOS user interface, was hired by Google in May; the man behind WebOS's notifications system, Rich Dellinger, jumped ship for Apple in June; Senior Vice President of Software Michael Abbott found a new home at Twitter in April; and Senior Vice President of Product Development Mike Bell opted for his same job, but at Intel, a few weeks ago.

HP has said it wants to make WebOS central to its mobile plans. If they end up doing that, it won't be with many of the most senior people who created the software.

Updated at 3:30 p.m. PDT with confirmation from HP.

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