The old industry joke says that IBM stands for "I've been moved," yet we were still surprised on Tuesday morning to learn that IBM Lotus general manager Ambuj Goyal was shifting to a new role at IBM. We called over to IBM and were told that Michael Rhodin, the VP of Development for Workplace Portal and Collaboration Products at IBM Lotus, would be replacing Ambuj. (I don't mean to assume undue familiarity, having met the gentleman just once, but it seems like everyone calls him by his first name.)
Even more surprising has been the media's lack of interest in the story. (Three days later, if you Google "Rhodin Goyal," only SearchDomino.com's story appears.)
Maybe it's because it's the summer. Maybe HP's announcement that it would lay off more than 14,000 workers was the big story that day. Or maybe it's because, in the end, it's just another management change at IBM, and hardly a controversial one at that.
From the comments I've read from the Lotus community, there is universal appreciation of what Ambuj did for Lotus and Notes. There is also seemingly unanimous expectation that Michael Rhodin will do an equally good job.
Certain Rhodin has the right experience. He has had responsibility for development of the Lotus product portfolio. He has led the Lotus worldwide technical support organization. And he has been responsible for the Lotus customer satisfaction initiatives.
Peter O'Kelly, a senior analyst with the Application Platform Strategies service of IT infrastructure research and advisory firm Burton Group, called Rhodin "top-tier," and predicted there would be no significant disruption at the IBM Lotus unit. Ed Brill, the head of worldwide sales for Lotus Notes and Domino, said on the July 20 entry of his blog site "Mike has depth of understanding Lotus customer's deployments, roadmaps and challenges. His development team has created entire new product portfolios, and has solved (or is working on the solutions) for taking Lotus Notes ahead for the next 15 years. At a time when (again) some saw the product waning, they are developing an architecture that will move Notes forward through the next technical inflection point in its lifecycle."
Expect an interview with Rhodin to appear shortly on SearchDomino.com. In the meantime, here are some stories that have appeared on SearchDomino.com stories in which he has figured.