HOPKINTON — David Donatelli holds two of the
highest-profile, and highest-pressure, jobs in
As senior vice president at EMC Corp.,
Donatelli is in charge of new business development
— specifically, the buyouts of smaller companies
that help drive EMC’s growth.
And last month, the 14-year EMC veteran took
over as head of corporate marketing as well. Now,
he’s also responsible for developing the company’s
brand and image, a strategy that has included
national television ads and key sports
Donatelli, 36, doesn’t seem cowed by his dual
challenge. Instead, he says his job brings
together responsibilities he’s handled before
during his ascent through EMC’s ranks.
" I have a very good group of people who work
for me, " he added. " I don’t have to do it all. "
Donatelli — who sports employee badge number
129 in a company of 24,000 people — came to EMC
straight out of Boston College in 1987. At the
time, the fledgling tech company did a lot of
recruiting on the BC campus.
" A lot of smart guys from prior graduating
classes came here, " he said. " It made me
curious. They talked about what a great company it
was, how it had a great culture and great
Donatelli rose quickly at EMC, picking up
experience in sales, marketing, customer service,
manufacturing and alliances. That strategy is
common at EMC, which often shuttles its executives
through different areas to broaden their knowledge
of the company.
He led the company’s entry into the open
systems market in 1995, then helped with EMC’s
acquisition and digestion of Westborough’s Data
General Corp. three years later.
" It was a lot of work, of course, " he said. "
I really think it’s been a great deal. "
Some familiar with the company say Donatelli’s
experience will help him in both of his present
jobs, especially with mergers and
" He knows EMC really well, " said Dave
Vellante, a former EMC analyst who now runs a
local software company. " He knows what their
weaknesses are, what their strengths are, and what
holes they need to have filled. "
On the marketing side, Donatelli says EMC
watchers will continue to see " the orb " — the
circular group of TV screens rolled out in TV ads
earlier this year. The orb represents the constant
stream of information EMC hopes to capture and
store with its systems.
Donatelli said EMC also continues to look for
well-suited sponsorship opportunities. In recent
years, EMC has given money or equipment to golf
tournaments, auto-racing teams and the Shoah
Foundation, a non-profit group that records the
stories of Holocaust survivors.
" We’re always looking at good ideas to do that
with, " said Donatelli, without adding
Acquisitions, meanwhile, have been a key means
of growth for EMC in the past year or two. EMC
bought five software companies last year and
remains on the prowl, with more than $4 billion in
cash on hand and no debt.
John Webster, who follows EMC for New
Hampshire’s Illuminata Inc., said takeovers make
up a big piece of EMC’s strategy. In the
fast-changing data-storage field, a company that
wants a piece of all possible markets probably
won’t be able to develop all that technology
in-house, he said.
" For a lot of vendors ... going out and buying
technology as part of an acquisition is just the
simplest way to get to the ‘Go’ square on the
board, " Webster said. " It’s sort of the concept
of big-fish, little-fish. "
Again, Donatelli declined specific comment
about future EMC takeovers. But, he said the
company — which talked to 160 other companies
about buyouts last year — remains active in the
merger market, especially for software.
" We are the preferred acquirer, " he said. "
These companies know that if we acquire them, we
can get their product to the largest market
As head of acquisitions, Donatelli reports to
Executive Chairman Michael Ruettgers, who led EMC
to astral success in the ’90s. As marketing head,
he reports to EMC’s current leader, Chief
Executive Officer Joseph Tucci.
Bosses don’t come with higher profile, or more
pressure, in MetroWest. But Donatelli says he’s "
been very, very lucky " to work with Ruettgers and
Tucci, as well as EMC founder Richard Egan.
" Mike has been rated one of the top managers
in the world, " he said. " To learn about the
business from him has been incredible. Joe’s been
a great addition to EMC, and brings a whole other
realm of experience for me to learn from. "