GM CIO calls HP hiring probe a 'fishing expedition'

CIO Randy Mott says GM is offering 'best jobs in IT industry' as it outlines hiring strategy for IT Innovation Centers

General Motors CIO Randy Mott Thursday said the automaker plans to have the "best jobs in the IT industry" at its four "IT Innovation Centers" in the U.S. At the same time, Mott criticized Hewlett-Packard's move to contest GM's hiring of some HP IT managers to work at the centers.

The automaker today announced that the third innovation center will be located in Roswell, Ga., near Atlanta, and employ about 1,000 IT workers. GM expects to begin interviewing candidates for those jobs as early as next week.

GM has been moving aggressively to build an IT staff since announcing in September plans to insource its IT operations that had previously been mostly outsourced to Hewlett-Packard's services unit.

The effort included the recent hiring of 18 HP IT employees in one swoop, a move that upset its long-time service provider, which filed papers in a Texas state court seeking to depose some former HP managers hired by GM.

In a conference call today to announce the Georgia center, Mott hit back at HP's decision to contest the hirings in court.

Mott, CIO at HP before moving to GM last year, said HP's move is "not the best use our legal system."

"We're looking for talent, and we're looking for the best talent," Mott said.

Mott called HP's court filing a "fishing expedition," that "feels very retaliatory and harassing to the individuals. I think talent will go where talent sees opportunity."

HP, in papers filed in the Travis County district court last month, said it wants to investigate whether some of the former employees violated hiring agreements.

GM, which has long outsourced most of its IT operations to EDS, acquired by HP in 2008, is reversing course under Mott. The automaker is on path to build an IT organization of about 10,000 people.

The HP employees that GM hired had been part of the computer maker's internal IT organization, the Global Information Technology Organization.

According to HP's court filing, the employees "resigned en masse and without notice." HP added that it "strongly suspects" something other than "mere coincidence" prompted the resignations.

An HP spokesman said the company wouldn't comment on Mott's remarks.

When GM announced its plan to insource the IT work, HP said that 3,000 of its employees would transfer to the auto maker.

Mott said that HP's Texas court filing "has nothing to do" with the earlier agreement to hire 3,000 HP employees. That process "is going very smoothly and is very much on track," said Mott.

GM has previously announced plans for IT Innovation Centers in Austin, and in Warren, Mich.

Mott said today that GM is seeking geographic diversity for its IT centers. "Our strategy is to be able to reach the top talent in this U.S. market," Mott said.

For instance, GM's site selection criteria calls for locating in areas that have 10 to 12 universities nearby, as well as deep pools of technical talent at all skill levels and years of experience.

The locations it has picked "are great places to live and work," said Mott.

The type of employee that GM is seeking is "a student of the business," and "someone with a passion to learn. A perpetual student who applies technology to innovate business processes and deliver solutions that enable our business counterparts to be successful," Mott said.

Patrick Thibodeau covers SaaS and enterprise applications, outsourcing, government IT policies, data centers and IT workforce issues for Computerworld. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @DCgov, or subscribe to Patrick's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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