Netezza CEO Jim Baum Out at IBM, On to New “Non-Competitive” Venture

9/28/11Follow @gthuang

Former Netezza chief executive Jim Baum has left IBM, Xconomy has learned. Baum was the CEO of Marlborough, MA-based Netezza since early 2009 and oversaw the “big data” analytics company’s $1.7 billion acquisition by IBM almost exactly a year ago.

Baum was not reachable for comment, but a spokesperson for IBM (NYSE: IBM) confirmed that he left the company a few weeks ago. Netezza’s website no longer lists Baum on its executive team page. The top people listed there are senior vice presidents Prat Moghe, Ray Tacoma, and Tricia Cotter, chief technology officer John Metzger, and chief scientist David Flaxman.

I’ve heard that Moghe is now leading Netezza (he came to the company through its purchase of Tizor in 2009), and that Arvind Krishna, the IBM general manager who sponsored the Netezza acquisition, will be spending more time with the subsidiary.

I’m also told that Baum’s next venture is “non-competitive” with Netezza and IBM, but beyond that details are sketchy.

In an extensive interview in March of this year, Baum talked with me about his formative experiences at tech icons Parametric Technology (NASDAQ: PMTC) and Endeca before joining Netezza in 2006 as president and chief operating officer. He also talked about why Netezza sold to IBM, the future of big data analytics, and the competitive dynamics between IBM, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle in that field.

As for the company integration process with Big Blue, Baum said at the time, “IBM is a pro at this. It starts with a business plan. When they acquire a company, they have a well defined, well understood set of measurable business objectives. They expect to create a return on this investment.” He added, “IBM is very focused on wanting to retain and motivate great people, and add great people to their company.”

So no word yet on Baum’s next stop, or whether he is departing for strategic reasons or merely cashing out on the acquisition. But it sounds like IBM didn’t do enough to retain his services for more than a year, in any case.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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