Hewlett-Packard has named former Dell CIO Randy Mott as an executive vice president and new chief information officer, highlighting the rivalry between the computer makers and an internal shift in HP's structure.
Mott, 49, does not officially start working at HP until Tuesday, but his job duties will include overseeing HP's internal IT departments, which include the company's application development, data management, technology infrastructure, data center operations and telecommunication networks. Mott becomes the 11th member of HP's executive council and will report directly to HP President and CEO Mark Hurd.
Former CIO Gilles Bouchard is expected to stay on as executive vice president of HP's global operations division, which manages the company's more customer-facing operations, such as its call centers and supply chain.
The divisional split follows recent moves to reverse the corporate consolidation that highlighted former HP CEO Carly Fiorina's tenure. In June, for example, HP separated its PC and handheld business from its imaging and printing group. Todd Bradley, previously president and chief executive officer of PalmOne, was named to lead the PC division.
One area that carried an excessive amount of overhead, far beyond what HP's competitors and the industry spend on a per employee basis, was HP's information technology department, according to a source familiar with HP's corporate structure.
"When (Hurd) was at NCR, he got their costs under control by benchmarking. He found the company was off benchmark with their IT," the source said. "At HP, one of the first places he looked at was IT and it was way off benchmark...through cuts and layoffs, it will get within benchmark."
HP has pared down its workforce during the past year, with cuts in the storage and server group, as well as printing and imaging, resulting in a $177 million charge during the fiscal second quarter.
But the company is expected to take a large slice to its workforce in the near future. A cut of 15,000 jobs, less than 10 percent of HP's workforce, would "not be way off base," the source said.
If cost synergies are needed, the job suits Mott well. For the last five years Mott was CIO for HP archrival Dell. While there, Mott managed Dell's IT organization and was in Dell management's inner circle. Prior to Dell, Mott spent 22 years at Wal-Mart Stores where he was a key figure in helping the big-box retailer automate its supply-chain systems.
There is little love lost between HP and Dell. The two companies often jockey for lead position in server sales of x86-based systems. Dell leads the category in PC sales, while HP runs a close second.
But the two companies seem to be siphoning off of each other's executive teams. Just last month, Dell hired Brad Anderson, HP's top executive for its ProLiant server line. Tim Golden, a marketing executive, also made the jump from HP to Dell.
CNET News.com's Dawn Kawamoto contributed to this report.