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DataDirect Networks' COO throws in towel

Keen 'to pursue other interests', apparently

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Erwan Menard, chief operating officer of HPC and big data storage supplier DataDirect Networks has resigned, just one month after company-wide layoffs and weeks after the appointment of new company president, Joe Cowan.

Privately owned DataDirect Networks is a supplier of high-performance computing storage arrays - more than two-thirds of the top 100 and one-third of the top 500 supercomputers are powered by DDN. The firm is run by CEO and co-founder Alex Bouzari.

Menard joined DDN as its COO in May 2011 and assumed responsibility for revenue, sales, channels and partners, professional services, customer support, supply chain optimisation and manufacturing. His primary focus was on scaling the DDN organisation to cope with the forecast growth.

Before joining DDN, Menard was an HP veep and general manager of the Communications and Media Solutions Unit, heading up 2,500 staff. He was recognised in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by Global Telecom Business as one of its "Top 40 under 40” industry leaders.

Cowan entered DDN as a board member in 2011. He is a mature IT technology exec, having most recently been president and CEO of Online Resources Corporation and CEO of Interwoven, which was acquired by Autonomy in 2009 and CEO of Manugistics before that. He gained a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Auburn University in 1970, which would indicate he's close to normal retirement age now.

Cowan plans to take responsibility for full operational management of DDN. The Register's storage desk has seen an email from Joe Cowan to all DDN employees and it says:

To All DDN Employees,

This is to advise you that Erwan Menard, COO of DDN, has announced his resignation to pursue other interests. In order to ensure a seamless hand off, he has agreed to continue working at DDN until the end of August as an advisor, reporting to me.

Erwan has been a key leader and contributor to our Company over the last couple of years. In particular, he has been instrumental in helping to launch our Object Storage business through new partnerships, such as those with service providers, while also scaling our global operations into new and emerging domestic and international markets.

I’m already very engaged with his management team, and confident that together we will ensure a smooth transition especially in Sales, Pre-Sales, Services, Support, Operations and Supply Chain. DDN remains in a strong position both financially and in the marketplace. It is essential, however, that we remain focused and continue to execute against our operational and financial objectives.

While I and the entire Board respect Erwan’s decision, we will miss his enthusiasm, commitment and vision. We wish him well in his new endeavours.

Best,

Joe

President, DDN.

A DDN spokesperson said about the email message: "At this stage there is not much more that can be added to what you already have."

DDN eliminated some positions in April this year, with a reboot in customer support management following, we understand, two quarters of disappointing business results, but set out plans to hire more than 60 new people, suggesting that the layoffs of 65 were a cleansing rather than a cost-cutting exercise. ®

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