Sun Microsystems Inc’s $4bn merger with Storage Technology Corp is not going well, judging by the number of very senior staff that have left Sun’s storage division since the acquisition.
Sun handed the senior management posts in its data management group to mostly ex-StorageTek staff after the two companies merged, in recognition of StorageTek’s success in the sector, and its own lackluster storage performance. But in the six months since the acquisition closed, five vice presidents have left the storage division, and sources say that at least two more have either followed suit or will do soon.
The most recent exit is that of former ESG group analyst Randy Kerns, vice president of strategy of planning, who left Sun on Friday, and previously reported directly to Sun’s long-standing storage chief and executive vice president Mark Canepa. Kerns was only with the company for around six months.
Other executives at the same level who have left Sun since the merger include David Harrison, former StorageTek vice president of worldwide operations, Brenda Zawatski StorageTek and then briefly Sun ILM vice president, and Thomas Despres, general manager of StorageTek’s principal manufacturing plant, in Puerto Rico. At the same time, Sun also lost its twenty-year veteran and disk division vice president, Kathleen Holmgren.
According to sources, other ex-StorageTek executives who have very recently left or are about to do so include Wendell Wilson, vice president of ILM product marketing, and Tom Arnold, former vice president and corporate controller at StorageTek. The exodus has also been taking place further down the organization, the sources said.
One source close to the company said: Sun told the StorageTek people more than once we bought you, and don’t forget it. The same source claimed that because of the attrition rate, Sun has had to make very few staff cuts. Another factor was a lack of enthusiasm for storage among Sun’s uppermost management, despite the very hefty cash price the company paid to acquire StorageTek. Sun and StorageTek’s management and leadership styles are as different as night and day, the source said.
Sun issued this statement to Computer Business Review: We currently have a strong and focused leadership team, and are confident and fully prepared to aggressively execute on Sun’s Data Management strategy.