SageCircle has received a number of very credible reports that Bruce Richardson, Chief Research Officer of AMR Research, is departing. Richardson is reported to be going to Infor, a software vendor, to assume the role of Chief Strategy Officer. SageCircle wishes Bruce the best of luck in his new position.
AMR Research was acquired by Gartner in December 2009. This move by Richardson has to be considered in that context and if it portends anything for the future of the merged firm.
It is possible that one reads too much into Richardson’s departure. This could simply be the case of a long-time employee seeing his company’s transition as an opportunity for a personal transition. Richardson has been an analyst for around 30 years so a new professional challenge would not be unreasonable. For instance, AMR analyst Lora Cecere indicated quickly that she was not joining Gartner and was – according to her blog post almost immediately deleted by ARM – off to write a book. This could also be the case of being recruited by a corporation who made Bruce an offer he could not refuse.
On the other hand, this could be a harbinger of a much larger issue within the AMR analyst team. Certainly we have seen others of Bruce’s stature stay after Gartner acquired their firm, e.g., Dale Kutnick of META. Richardson is a superstar with broad and deep relationships with both enterprise and vendor clients. Surely Gartner would have liked to have retained Richardson to sooth clients? Does Bruce’s departure signal unease by at least some analysts that the new emerging organizational structure will not be as satisfying as when AMR was independent. Remember that Bruce wrote “As you can surmise, I plan to stay with Gartner and reach a much broader audience” in his blog post of December 1st.
One interesting possibility brought up by one of our very smart clients is that Bruce’s departure gives implicit permission to other AMR analysts that they can leave as well, rather staying on in loyalty to a colleague.
Tip o’ the hat to the tipsters who tipped off SageCircle about this departure. If you know of brewing news at one of the analyst firms, please send us a tip to “info [at] sagecircle [dot] com.”
- Enterprise and vendor clients of AMR as well as analyst relations (AR) teams need to keep a finger on the pulse of AMR – and now Burton – analysts to determine their intentions about staying with Gartner
- Research clients and AR need to have contingency plans in place should a key analyst depart
Bottom Line: Bruce Richardson’s departure from AMR-Gartner shows that even an analyst who has accepted an offer letter might not be staying. It is incumbent upon research clients and AR teams to keep an eye open for changes in the firms post acquisition that could impact the business value of a contract or their current outreach plans.
Question: How serious a blow to Gartner’s and AMR’s plans do you think that Richardson’s departure represents?