Rumor: Executive Exodus From Palm Following HP Deal

Back in April when HP bought Palm, we spoke with HP Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, Brian Humphries, who made it clear that the acquisition was about webOS. “Our intent is to double down on webOS,” is exactly what he said. Palm’s intellectual property was another key part of the deal, we were told. Downplayed was the role Palm employees would play after the merger — including key Palm executives. Now we may know why.

A number of Palm’s Senior Vice Presidents appear to be out the door, some of their own accord, and some not, we’re hearing from a couple of sources. This may not be that surprising considering how many had left in recent months (and most recently two key webOS guys had), but HP did say in April that they had put thought into how to retain key members of Palm’s team. All that thinking apparently hasn’t paid off based on what we’re hearing now.

The timetable for the exits isn’t yet clear, but it should be soon. Also not entirely clear is just which executives are leaving and which are staying. But from what we’re told, it will be more clear than ever that HP didn’t buy Palm for the management team.

One wild card in this remains Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein. Before the HP deal, we heard rumors he may be out — those turned out to be not true, perhaps because his former employer — he worked at HP in the 1980s — was buying his company. Immediately after the acquisition, HP’s press release stated that Rubinstein expected to remain with the company. But when we asked, Humphries wouldn’t say exactly what Rubinstein’s role with HP would be. It’s not clear if he’s going to be one of the executives leaving HP now as well.

We’ve reached out to HP for comment, but have yet to hear back. Stay tuned for more information as we get it.

[photo: flickr/echiner1]