When it comes to talent, the enterprise IT world is a lot like Major League Baseball: Even the people at the bottom of the ladder are still way more talented than the rest of the world.
Still, there are certain types of enterprise tech skills that are hard to find, and they’re not always technical ones.
Some people are visionaries, others are diligent researchers. Still other people possess the kind of wisdom that only comes from years and years of battling with other tech vendors. They know how the game is played.
Exceptional leaders have a way of standing out no matter what their backgrounds. And companies work hard to poach them from competitors. Here are some of the biggest enterprise hires of the last 12 months.
Joined: May 2013
Title: VP of development for the data platform group in Microsoft's Server and Tools Business
Previous Company And Role: He spent the past three years at SAP overseeing business analytics and HANA, SAP's in-memory database, a type of super-fast database that can store data and analytics on it at the same time.
Game Changing Skills: He's previously led tech teams at CA, which he joined through its acquisitions of Wily and Timestock. He's also worked at Sybase and networking and wireless startups. He's a co-inventor of 6 database tech patents.
Joined: January 2013
Title: VP of product management for consumer PCs
Previous Company And Role: He spent most of the past three years as a VP in Amazon's Kindle unit. Before that he worked at Microsoft for more than 18 years, and was corporate VP of Windows Platform Strategy when he left.
Game Changing Skills: He's got a diverse background: He was the first product manager on the Windows NT marketing team, and he also headed up Microsoft's security tech unit. Nash was also in charge of Windows during the Vista debacle, so he's used to operating under pressure. And with the consumer PC market tanking, he'll face no shortage of it at HP.
Joined: September 2012
Title: Core OS Security Researcher
Previous Company And Role: Has previously worked in security roles at eBay, Google, and IOActive, as well as independently as a consultant.
Game Changing Skills: Formerly known as Chris Paget, she's an ethical hacker who's an expert in Windows security issues. She was part of a small group of elite hackers Microsoft hired to help make Windows Vista secure, Wired's Bob McMillan reported last December. With Apple becoming more of a target for hackers, she's part of a team working to keep Apple products safe.
Joined: October 2012
Previous Company And Role: He came to EMC from Huawei, where he's spent the previous four years in R&D roles. He's also held CTO roles at Nortel, Broadcom and Enterasys.
Game Changing Skills: EMC told us his experience in tech innovation and incubation made him an attractive hire. EMC spends about 11% of its annual revenue on internal R&D and about the same amount on acquiring tech, so it needed a CTO who's good at identifying promising tech.
Joined: December 2012
Title: Director of engineering
Previous Company And Role: Kurzweil has founded a bunch of his own companies, including Kurzweil Applied Intelligence, Kurzweil Educational Systems and the Medical Learning Company. This is the first time he's working for a company he didn't create.
Game Changing Skills: He's a futurist who's going to be driving Google's work to teach computers how to understand natural language better.
'This is not some little project. This is the culmination of literally 50 years of my focus on artificial intelligence,' he told Forbes' Robert Hof in an April interview. 'I've always had in mind working on the ultimate challenge, which I believe is being able to really model and understand natural language and using that to do practical things.'
Joined: March 2013
Previous Company And Role: She was Zynga's CIO for the past two years, and before that spent 18 months as SVP of Cisco's collaboration. She also spent six years as a VP at Microsoft in charge of online services.
Game Changing Skills: She's a seasoned tech executive with deep experience running cloud services. That'll fit with Nirvanix, a cloud computing service provider for enterprises that's focused on storage.
Joined: August 2012
Title: VP and chief architect of AMD's microprocessor cores
Previous Company And Role: He comes to AMD from Apple, which he joined in its 2008 acquisition of P.A. Semi. This is actually a reunion: Earlier in his career Keller spent several years working at AMD.
Game Changing Skills: As director of Apple's platform architecture group, he led the building of chips that run Apple iPads, iPhones, iPods and Apple TVs.
Joined: November 2012
Title: VP and head of Microsoft Research International
Previous Company And Role: She came from Carnegie Mellon University, where she's been teaching since 1985 and leading its computer science department since 2004. She has also worked at the National Science Foundation.
Game Changing Skills: She's a security and privacy expert and will be helping Microsoft with 'trustworthy computing', the term Microsoft has adopted to describe its work to make its software more resistant to hackers.
Joined: April 2013
Title: VP of engineering
Previous Company And Role: He was VP of Engineering at Red Hat and led development of cloud computing software.
Game Changing Skills: He's an open source expert, and Puppet Labs' roots are also in open source. Puppet Labs makes software that helps IT departments automate tasks to run large data centres. It's become very popular because it saves IT admins tons of time.
Joined: January 2013
Title: EVP Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer
Previous Company And Role: He came to EMC from General Electric, where he spent 20 years as CIO of various divisions. He also helped Accenture build a practice around big data, or tech that processes huge amounts of information quickly to find trends that businesses can use.
Game Changing Skills: At EMC, Bhagat is making sure EMC's internal IT operations are ready for big data and cloud computing.
Joined: May 2013
Title: None at this time
Previous Company And Role: As Wired's Klint Finley noted last month, Salesforce didn't announce Lane's hiring. Instead, Lane was listed as a Salesforce employee in a lineup of speakers for a Postgres conference. Lane has previously worked for Red Hat.
Game Changing Skills: He's an expert in PostgresSQL, an open source database. His hiring is said to be part of Salesforce's ongoing effort to lessen its dependence on Oracle databases.
'Tom's move is part of a significant pattern of investment by large corporations in the future of Postgres,' Selena Deckelmann, a Postgres contributor, said last month in a blog post.
Joined: May 2013
Title: VP of environmental initiatives
Previous Company And Role: She spent the past four years as head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Game Changing Skills: Apple doesn't have the best reputation for making environmentally friendly products. It'll be Jackson's job to scrub Apple's image, and she'll also be driving Apple's efforts to use more renewable energy in its data centres. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced her hiring at the D11 conference last week.
Title: Strategy & Transformation Consultant, IBM Global Business Services
Previous Company And Role: He joined IBM last August after graduating from Princeton with a degree in East Asian Studies. He has studied the impact of social media in China and has written papers on how people use it in that country.
Game Changing Skills: He doesn't have a tech background, but that's precisely why IBM hired him. He'll bring a completely new perspective to IBM's business, using the knowledge he's gathered about social media and applying it to help the company solve business challenges.
Joined: May 2013
Title: Vice President and GM of New Devices
Previous Company And Role: He's been with Intel since 2010, and prior to that spent 3 years at Palm and 16 years at Apple.
Game Changing Skills: Brian Krzanich tapped Bell to lead Intel's new mobile devices unit. While he's not a new employee, that fact that Intel is placing a great deal of emphasis on mobility right now makes him a key hire for an important role.
He's got lots of experience leading big product groups: One of his former colleagues at Apple, in a recommendation on LinkedIn, describes Bell as having a 'phenomenal touch for managing a large technical organisation'.
Joined: December 2012
Title: GM of Red Hat's virtualization business unit
Previous Company And Role: Balakrishnan joined Microsoft in 1999 and held a variety of cloud computing related positions during his time there. He helped put together Microsoft's $250 million cloud partnership with Hewlett-Packard in 2010.
Game Changing Skills: He's good at partnerships, and it'll be his job to get Red Hat more involved with OpenStack, a set of open source cloud computing tools that many enterprise vendors are building businesses around.
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