HP Execs Are Finding Some Dark humour In All The rumours About Autonomy Layoffs

HP Autonomy Robert YoungjohnsRobert Youngjohns

Autonomy has seen its fair share of turmoil since HP acquired it in 2011, as several senior executives have left and rumours have swirled that HP is looking to sell the troubled unit or gut its staff with layoffs. 

But amid all this uncertainty, HP’s remaining London-based Autonomy executives appear to have maintained their sense of humour.

At company events, Autonomy execs sometimes feign mock surprise when they see colleagues.

“In fact it has become a bit of an in-joke at in-house events when a certain manager has walked on stage and a colleague has said ‘fancy seeing you here. You quit didn’t you?” Robert Youngjohns, head of HP’s Autonomy unit, told Tony Quested of the UK-based publication Business Weekly in an interview published Thursday

In January, Youngjohns told AllThingsD’s Arik Hesseldahl that Autonomy was looking to hire around 50 engineers for the unit. This week, Youngjohns told Business Weekly he’s still got about 25 job openings in London for engineers, software developers and other roles. 

Youngjohns told Business Weekly he’s also busy looking for a new office for Autonomy, which is currently located in London’s St. James’s Square in the original home of the Queen Mother (the mother of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away in 2002).

HP CEO Meg Whitman visited Autonomy’s London office in April and said HP wasn’t looking to sell the unit. She even described Autonomy’s technology as “almost magical” and something HP needs to establish itself as a force in big data, the fast emerging enterprise software segment that uses analytics to get value about the mountains of information companies generate daily. 

But last week, Bill McDermott, co-chief exec of SAP, told The Times of London’ Nic Fildes that HP tried to get his company to buy Autonomy. 

After acquiring Autonomy for $11 billion in 2011, HP wrote off $8.8 billion from the deal last November and said it found $5 billion worth of alleged fraud on Autonomy’s books. 

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