Dell's David Johnson takes senior post at Blackstone

Mon Jan 7, 2013 6:20pm EST
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By Jim Finkle

BOSTON (Reuters) - Michael Dell has lost of one of the key lieutenants he recruited to help him turn around his ailing computer company.

David Johnson, Dell Inc's senior vice president for corporate strategy, has left to take a senior position with investment company Blackstone Group LP, according to Dell spokesman David Frink.

He joined Dell in 2009 from IBM, where he served as head of mergers and acquisitions. IBM waged an unsuccessful legal effort to prevent Johnson from taking the job at Dell, citing a non-compete clause in an employment agreement.

Johnson was not available to comment on his new position. Officials at Blackstone could not be reached.

During his three years at the computer maker, Johnson oversaw some 20 acquisitions worth about $10 billion, according to Frink.

He oversaw the 2009 purchase of Perot Systems Corp, which catapulted Dell into the technology services market alongside IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. Other deals during his tenure included Quest Software, SecureWorks, SonicWall Inc and Wyse Technology.

Rival Hewlett Packard has had to take large write-offs for several acquisitions, including outsourcing services provider EDS and data analytics firm Autonomy. Dell has proven more circumspect, analysts say, at one point ceding to HP after a bidding war drove up the price of a data storage firm that both were eyeing.

Shannon Cross, an analyst with Cross Research, said Johnson built an infrastructure at Dell that is adept at identifying acquisition targets and integrating them into the company.   Continued...