by Meridith Levinson

What’s Behind Don Hopkins’ Resignation from NCR?

Apr 16, 20083 mins

There seems to be some mystery surrounding Don Hopkins‘ departure from NCR Corp., the $4.97 billion maker of ATMs and self-service kiosks where Hopkins was CIO. Kelly Kramer, an NCR spokesperson, confirmed for CIO via e-mail on April 8, 2008 that Hopkins “is leaving NCR,” but he did not explain why. Kramer did say that the company made no official announcement about Hopkins’ departure because Hopkins does not report to the CEO, Bill Nuti.

A different spokesperson told the Dayton Business Journal on April 9 that “an exit date” for Hopkins had not been set and that the CIO was “leaving to pursue other opportunities.” Meanwhile, Hopkins’ LinkedIn profile says he retired from NCR on April 4. Hopkins did not respond to an inquiry from CIO about his departure from the company, where he’s worked since 1998.

An anonymous source told CIO via e-mail on April 8 that friends who work for NCR say Hopkins resigned abruptly in early March 2008 and that the CIO’s sudden resignation “left people scrambling.”

The tipster, who says s/he worked for Hopkins 10 years ago, says that NCR veterans are wondering whether the CIO’s departure is related to the company’s relocating its executives to New York City. They speculate that Hopkins didn’t want to move.

Nuti, NCR’s CEO, is a New York resident himself, and in 2007 decided to move the company’s executive officers to Manhattan, according to reports in the Dayton Business Journal. This decision meant that the CEO had gotten out of his own relocation obligations: According to his original employment agreement, filed with the SEC on July 27, 2005, Nuti was supposed to move to the Dayton area by August 1, 2006. Failure to do so would be cause for termination. On July 26, 2006, NCR amended its employment agreement with Nuti and released him of the obligation to relocate, according to SEC filings.

NCR Spokesman Kramer confirmed that the company will open office space in New York later in the year that will “house a customer demonstration center as well as offices for area sales personnel and some of our executives.” Kramer added that Bill Van Curen, who’s serving as interim CIO while NCR seeks a replacement for Hopkins, is based at the company’s headquarters in Dayton, Ohio.

We’ll watch to see where NCR’s new CIO is based. If the office is in New York, at least the CIO will be close to the corner office (and we may get another clue about Hopkins’ exit).

–With additional reporting from Stephanie Overby.