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Dell Hires Former CA CEO To Head New Software Division

Eric is a veteran British tech journalist, currently editing ChannelBiz for NetMediaEurope. With expertise in security, the channel, and Britain's startup culture, through his TechBritannia initiative

John Swainson, former CEO of CA, has been hired by Dell to create its new Software Group and develop its products and services

Dell has appointed software veteran John Swainson as president of a newly-formed software division. He will be expected to pull together, package and expand the company’s applications portfolio.

According to Dell, the Software Group will build on the company’s current software capabilities to achieve a more competitive position in delivering end-to-end IT “solutions” to customers. Expansion of the division will help Dell to increase its services provision at a time when hardware sales are starting to feel the pinch.

Experienced leader

Prior to this appointment, Swainson successfully steered CA into less turbulent waters following an accountancy scandal that shook the industry. The fraud scandal saw his predecessor Sanjay Kumar jailed for 12 years and CA accused company co-founder Charles Wang of fraudulent accounting prior to Kumar’s appointment.

Swainson (pictured) joined CA from IBM where he was founder and general manager of the Application Integration Middleware Division at IBM. During that period, he oversaw the development of the WebSphere middleware products and the Eclipse open source development tools project.

Although Swainson retired from his role as CEO at CA in 2009, he has been busy mentoring other companies through board memberships and as an advisor to private equity firm Silver Lake Partners – which netted almost three times its investment in Skype when it was sold to Microsoft.

A lot will be entrusted to the Software Division which will be key to developing Dell’s value add and management software in both its hardware services and its growing Cloud provision interests.

Swainson  will report directly to CEO and chairman Michael Dell who said, “He brings to Dell extensive experience in leading and growing software businesses, unique expertise in managing complex software organisations, and a passion for listening to, and serving, customers. I look forward to working with John as he expands our enterprise solutions and builds on our software capabilities.”

“The addition of software, both within the Software Group and across all of Dell, will help catalyse our transformation,” Dell added. “As software will be a part of all of our products and services, the group’s success will be largely be measured by the success of Dell overall.”

There is an unconfirmed rumour that Swainson was also being sought for a similar, senior role at Hewlett-Packard.

“This is an exciting time to join Dell,” said Swainson. “As a leading IT solutions provider, Dell brings key assets and advantages to the software sector, including a strong global brand, a diverse global customer base and customer loyalty that creates opportunities to expand relationships with software.”