Hewlett-Packard has named Prith Banerjee as director of its storied HP Labs research unit, replacing Dick Lampman, who is retiring.
Banerjee, 46, who is presently dean of the college of engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will join HP as senior vice-president, research, and director of HP Labs, effective August 1. Banerjee will report to Shane Robison, who is chief strategy and technology officer for Palo Alto, California-based HP, long considered Silicon Valley's first startup.
Banerjee is nominally a US citizen, but in his words:
I visit India regularly, and have gone to India almost every December for the past 23 years. I love India, and I love Kolkata. I became an U.S. citizen only recently for professional reasons, but in my heart, I am still very much an Indian.
Now, it is really a good idea to have people who obtain citizenship for "professional reasons" managing the educational opportunities available to US born youth? Is there a potential conflict of interest here?
Are the educational trends we've seen in recent years benefiting the US or other nations?
What are the security implications of having folks with clear loyalties to other countries assuming these kinds of positions of responsibility?
Is HP hiring really meritocratic or focused on maximizing shareholder value or are there other forces in play?