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IBM nabs HP disaster recovery exec

Big Blue hires a new leader of its disaster recovery services unit, snagging a Hewlett-Packard executive after he spent less than four months at HP in a similar post.

IBM has hired a new leader of its disaster recovery services unit, snagging a Hewlett-Packard executive after he spent less than four months at HP in a similar post.

Big Blue on Friday said John Jackson has joined IBM to oversee its business continuity and recovery services group.


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Jackson was HP's director of business continuity services for the Americas for about three and a half months. Before that, he was a senior vice president at disaster recovery services provider SunGard. Jackson also spent 18 years with Comdisco, which was acquired by SunGard.

Jackson's defection from HP comes in the wake of other high-level departures at the company. Howard Elias, HP's senior vice president of business operations and management in its enterprise systems group, and Mark Sorenson, vice president of HP's storage software division, both resigned recently.

HP spokesman Brian Humphries said the recent loss of managers does not signal trouble at HP. "These departures have not and will not change the fact that HP continues to gain momentum versus our peers," he said. As evidence of that momentum, he pointed to Wall Street average estimates for earnings per share, which predicted HP's earnings per share growing 44 percent for the fiscal year ending in October. In contrast, analysts on average expect IBM earnings per share to grow 9 percent in 2003.

Disaster recovery services have gained a higher profile in recent years, thanks to events such as the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the power blackout that hit much of the Northeast earlier this year. Market research firm Gartner predicts that spending in the United States on outsourced business continuity and disaster recovery services will grow from $4.4 billion in 2001 to $6.4 billion in 2006.

Gartner analyst Donna Scott said John Jackson was among the first in the field to focus attention on customers' overall business needs rather than concentrating on hardware-system recovery.

She estimated that IBM's business continuity unit rakes in between $700 million to $800 million in revenue annually, while HP's unit brings in about $150 million to $200 million. Jackson's HP post, which focused on the Americas, "was probably not a big enough job for him," Scott said.