Liquid Computing Board Ousts CEO Hurley - InformationWeek

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2/5/2008
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John Foley
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Liquid Computing Board Ousts CEO Hurley

Brian Hurley, co-founder of "fabric computing" vendor Liquid Computing and, until a few days ago, its CEO, has been shown the exit. In his place steps Greg McElheran from investor Axis Capital. The abrupt change hasn't been publicly announced.

Brian Hurley, co-founder of "fabric computing" vendor Liquid Computing and, until a few days ago, its CEO, has been shown the exit. In his place steps Greg McElheran from investor Axis Capital. The abrupt change hasn't been publicly announced.Liquid Computing, founded in 2003, has received $41 million in two rounds of financing. In addition to Axis Capital, investors include Newbury Ventures, VenGrowth, ATA Ventures, Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada, and private investor Adam Chowaniec, who's also the company's chairman.

A Liquid Computing spokeswoman attributed the management change to a board of directors' decision to take the company in "another direction." That includes increased emphasis on business development and partnerships and expanding into areas beyond high-performance computing, she said.

Liquid Computing's AMD-based LiquidIQ system combines the functions of a computer server and network switch in a single chassis. The product first shipped in the fourth quarter of 2006, but the company has announced few customers since then.

The board's decision was sudden and apparently unexpected by Hurley, who gave no indication that he was on his way out when I interviewed him two weeks ago. "The focus in 2008 will be ramping sales and adding functionality to the product," he said at the time. Those plans included adding support for Intel processors, VMware virtual machines, Windows, and streaming media. Contacted by phone today, Hurley referred questions to Liquid Computing.

While Hurley is a technologist, with a degree in electrical engineering and experience with Nortel, McElheran's background is deal maker. Prior to joining Axis, he was a lawyer with Lucent Technologies and, according to his bio, served as the lead lawyer on "a number of multibillion dollar transactions."

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