HP's executive offices have become a high-stakes game of musical chairs over the past few months, most notably with Leo Apotheker's ouster in favor of ex-eBay chief Meg Whitman. Beneath Apotheker, though, another top office went vacant late last year: that of Shane Robison, the company's chief of strategy and technology. It opted not to backfill the position, and for a Silicon Valley stalwart like HP that's focused on technology, that decision seemed like an odd one.
The company has partially reneged on the decision to dispense of the role, though, with today's news that it has named Bill Veghte — who already serves as its executive VP of software — to the chief strategy officer position. In the role, Veghte will be responsible for HP's cloud strategy (something that Apotheker had been pushing very hard during his brief tenure), but more interestingly, he'll also be leading the webOS open source effort that HP recently undertook. There's still no fruit of that open source announcement, but having an executive directly responsible for it should allay some fears in the webOS community that it's going to a rudderless project with no support from the inside. Of course, the ball is still in HP's court to deliver — an occasional TouchPad patch won't get the job done.