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June 27, 2001

BC grad Donatelli climbs ranks at EMC through field experience



CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
EMC Corp. Senior Vice President David Donatelli credits staff for helping him implement business development and marketing strategies.

HOPKINTON — David Donatelli holds two of the highest-profile, and highest-pressure, jobs in MetroWest.

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 sponsorships.

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 technology. "

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 acquisitions.

" 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 specifics.

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 possible. "

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. "

 


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