John Swainson, Dell software president
"I don’t need to be CEO again." That’s according to John Swainson, now president of Dell’s software division and formerly CEO at CA.
Swainson’s comments came in an exclusive interview I had with him recently. "I enjoyed being a CEO but it’s difficult, it’s very tough," he said. "You’re on call 24 hours a day and are under intense scrutiny from everybody: from the public, from employees, from shareholders and the board. It’s a very intense environment and I’m not sure I’d go back to something so intense."
Swainson is best known for his turnaround of CA, which had been embroiled in a $2.2bn accounting scandal when he took the reins. He ran CA from 2005 to 2009.
Regarding Dell’s software strategy – it’s made a series of acquisitions in the software space recently including Quest Software for $2.4bn – Swainson said it’s very different to the acquisitions he’s led at previous firms. "I’ve done 43 acquisitions and normally you’re getting the acquired companies to conform to what the buying company wants. But Dell didn’t have a software division so there was nothing for them to conform to. It’s very different but there are early signs of success."
Is integration all going to plan? "Realistically it will take some time," he told me. "Our customers are demanding we provide a more complete solution and that’s what we’re working on."
Read more of my interview with Swainson in a full profile in January.