RealTime IT News

Quantum Lands Ex-Microsoft President as Skipper

Data-storage outfit Quantum Corp. had reason to smile Thursday as it announced the hiring of former Microsoft president and COO Richard Belluzzo as its new chief executive officer.

Belluzzo is slated to take the helm at the Milpitas, Calif. firm on Sept. 3. He will succeed Michael Brown, who has decided to step down from management but will continue to serve as chairman of Quantum's board of directors.

Quantum, which employs about 3,000 people, specializes in crafting tape drives -- hardware devices like tape recorders that read data from and writes it onto a tape. Companies buy tape drives for backing up the massive amounts of data they create, and most of Quantum's customers are medium- to large-sized companies. Quantum competes with IBM, StorageTek and Seagate.

Over the past year, the company has invested in research and development to strengthen its existing product lines through improved price/performance, and to expand into such markets as low-end tape automation, disk-based enhanced backup and mid-range network-attached storage (NAS).

Departing CEO Brown said of the hire: "As Quantum has continued its transition to playing a broader role in data protection and network storage solutions, we have focused not only on expanding our portfolio of storage systems and services but also on further strengthening the expertise of our management team in these areas."

Belluzzo's departure from Microsoft in April 2002 caused many industry insiders to comment on what they saw as a revolving door of sorts at the president and operations position. Pundits noted that Belluzzo's management style was markedly different from the often fiery CEO Steve Ballmer.

Belluzo began his employment at Microsoft in September 1999 and ascended to his final destination in February 2001 after then-COO Bob Herbold retired. He was responsible for helping to shape consumer activities and, as Microsoft said, "incubate key initiatives such as Xbox and .NET, and launch MSN on a much more successful course."

Belluzzo didn't just fall into upper-echelon employment at the most powerful software company in the world either. He came armed with 25 years of experience in the technology industry, having cut his teeth for 20 years at then-Hewlett-Packard. There, he served as executive vice president and general manager of the Computer Products Organization, where he steered Hewlett-Packard's computer systems and storage products, including peripherals, software and services.

Belluzzo also has served as chairman and CEO of Silicon Graphics.

Quantum started gunning for top managerial talent in October 2001 with the hiring of Larry Orecklin, a former senior vice president at IBM's Tivoli Systems, to lead the company's newly-formed Storage Solutions Group.