Sun taps HP alum to lead Canadian operation

Sun Microsystems of Canada announced its second new president in three years with the appointment this week of a former HP Canada executive.

Markham, Ont.-based Sun said Andy Canham, who most recently served as vice-president of Western Canada at HP, has replaced Stephane Boisvert, who has been promoted to senior vice-president of global client solutions. Boisvert came to Sun in 2002 from IBM to replace Everett Anstey, who had managed Sun for 13 years.

Canham said he was attracted to Sun by the firm’s efforts to stabilize revenues in its core business.

“What I like about what Sun has done is that it has embraced a view of the future with investment in R&D, driving and expanding the whole stack of Java-based software,” he said. “What Sun has been focused on is getting down the overall cost of SG&A (sales, general and administrative expenses) and protecting the R&D level of investment we make. The key to that is stabilizing the revenues and making sure the growth of the portfolio. Our entry into x86 market is really strong.”

Canham arrives at Sun following what Toronto-based IDC Canada analyst Alan Freeman described as a particularly good second quarter in its core business of providing enterprise servers.  In overall server market, Sun Canada owned 20 per cent market share by revenues, following HP at 23 per cent and IBM, which owns 40 per cent. Sun has a 31 per cent share of the midrange market with 31 per cent share, Freedman added. 

“Sun’s been going through a bit of a renaissance or a rejuvenation,” he said. “They’ve had almost a complete refresh of their product line. That helped.”

Next year Sun will be focusing on boosting sales of its Sparc hardware through Niagara, a processor line that will reportedly contain eight cores, each of which will be able to simultaneously execute four instruction sequences. It will also be digesting some of its more significant acquisitions, particularly its US$4.1 billion takeover of StorageTek in June.

“I think the formation of the Data Management Group (DMG) Group that (Sun president) Jonathan Schwartz recently announced shows that there will be a single place where we can pursue a richer storage strategy with customers,” Canham said. “There are a lot of compliance and privacy issues that are related to storage management strategies, so this positions us very well.”

Freedman said Sun has worked hard to regain some of the market momentum it enjoyed during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s.

“They’re also more focused on a few specific verticals – finance, education and oil and gas in the west,” he said.  “Their products and their solutions seem more relevant today than they were a few years ago.” 

Canham, was employed by Compaq Canada when it was acquired by HP , said he has been impressed by the corporate culture at Sun, particularly its Canadian team. 

“This is a company that wants to win. That’s the kind of thing you don’t always know until the day you first arrive,” he said.

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