HP Just Gave This Former Microsoft Exec A Tough Job: Fixing WebOS

Bill Veghte
HP’s Chief Strategy Officer Bill Veghte

[credit provider=”HP”]

HP on Tuesday named Bill Veghte as its chief strategy officer, and gave him the task of overseeing HP’s cloud strategy and figuring out what to do with WebOS. Veghte is best known for his 19 years at Microsoft where he led marketing and business development for the Windows business and spearheaded the launch of Windows 7.

Veghte left Microsoft in 2009 after he was passed over for a promotion. Steven Sinofsky snagged the job as president of the Windows Division and Tami Reller, who was the chief financial officer for the unit at the time got some of Veghte’s marketing responsibilities.

But his career at HP has been another story. He was was hired by then-CEO Mark Hurd in 2010 not long before Hurd resigned. In HP’s most recent fiscal year, he grew HP’s software business by 18 per cent, HP says.

Now he’s being handed an important job: he will be responsible for HP’s cloud plans. He’ll also have to figure out what to do with webOS, which is now an open source project supported by no hardware and still reportedly employing about 600 people.

Employees at HP have been critical that CEO Meg Whitman cannot rebuild HP until she appoints more key roles from within the company. One of them told Business Insider:

In a December all-employee meeting broadcast from Vienna she made statements about career development and how we used to be so great but are not any longer. No argument here. She goes on to cite that 56% of 4,000 directors over the past five years were hired from outside and “you cannot grow a company of this size and scale hiring that many people from outside.? So…you would expect to see some key appointments from inside HP. Yet in one of her first appointments she hires her old e-Bay and gubernatorial campaign friend Henry Gomez from outside as communications chief.

Clearly, Veghte didn’t grow up at HP, but at Microsoft. Yet, he has now been with HP for a couple of years, so this appointment may be an indication that Whitman is starting to walk her talk.