HPE hires former VMware exec as 4th CTO since 2016 in cloud push

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) made its strategic priorities clear, naming cloud specialist and former VMware executive Fidelma Russo as its next CTO.

Antonio Neri, president and CEO of HPE, said in a statement Russo’s “deep expertise in cloud services, software, and infrastructure” makes her “distinctively suited to drive innovation” as the company works to transform itself into a cloud services company.

The news follows Neri’s announcement in August that HPE’s CTO Kumar Sreekanti had “decided to retire” just two years after joining HPE in 2019 via its acquisition of BlueData and 15 months after being named CTO. At the time, Neri said Sreekanti would continue his duties as CTO until HPE named a replacement.

Sreekanti assumed the position from Mark Potter, who was appointed CTO in 2017 and announced plans to retire in May 2020. Potter himself was hired following the retirement of CTO Martin Fink at the end of 2016. That makes Russo the company’s fourth CTO since 2016.

Russo comes to HPE from VMware, where she served as SVP and GM of its Cloud Services business unit since mid-2020. Prior to that, she held roles as CTO and EVP of Global Technology and Operations at Iron Mountain from 2017 to 2020 and SVP and GM of Enterprise Storage and Software at Dell EMC from 2011 to 2017, according to her LinkedIn profile. Earlier roles included executive positions at HP, Sun Microsystems and Sepaton.

The new CTO said in a statement she was “thrilled” to join HPE “at another transformation moment in the industry.” Russo added “I look forward to working with our leadership, engineers, developers, customers and partners as we focus on delivering solutions that provide a unified as-a-service experience, from edge-to-cloud.”

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HPE has been working to overhaul its business for some time, announcing in 2019 a plan to offer its entire portfolio “as a service” and progressively fleshing out the services available on its HPE GreenLake cloud platform. In July, it purchased cloud data management and protection company Zerto for $374 million in an effort to further strengthen its offerings.

During HPE’s recent earnings call, Neri highlighted an accelerated shift to the cloud among its customers and noted it saw particular strength in its edge-to-cloud products in the period. Earlier this month, the company also notably scored a 10-year, $2 billion contract to deliver cloud-based high-performance computing (HPC) to the U.S. National Security Agency.