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HP's Veghte Named CEO of SurveyMonkey

The hiring comes after the death of its prominent leader, David Goldberg.

Friends since college, the late Silicon Valley exec David Goldberg was a mentor and adviser to former Hewlett-Packard exec Bill Veghte throughout his career. And earlier this year, in fact, Goldberg had tried to get him to join the board of the online survey platform company he was building.

Now, SurveyMonkey, which lost Goldberg earlier this year in an untimely death, is naming Veghte as its new CEO. He will start at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company in August and will also join the SurveyMonkey board.

“We brainstormed a lot about the future of SurveyMonkey when we were talking about the board, and the opportunities to take this company from surveys to a broader insights platform and a core decision-making tool,” said Veghte in an interview yesterday. “Dave had a real vision that I hope I can help deliver with this amazing team.”

Zander Lurie, the company’s now permanent chairman, said that its recruiter Spencer Stuart had looked at 75 candidates for the job, which sources said included internal candidates like president and CTO Selina Tobaccowala and COO and CFO Tim Maly. The company interviewed a dozen people before settling on Veghte, who has held top jobs at Microsoft and, more recently, HP.

Veghte had been COO as well as chief of strategy at HP; most recently, he was head of its enterprise group. His departure there came amid a larger scale restructuring of the company as it splits in two.

At the time Veghte’s departure was announced, HP said he would be “pursuing another opportunity,” which some thought was a job at IBM or in venture capital.

Moving to SurveyMonkey gives him a new landscape after spending much of his career in huge corporate entities. As noted by Re/code colleague Arik Hesseldahl, “Veghte joined HP in 2010 after 20 years at Microsoft, where he managed the $15 billion Windows business and oversaw the launch of Windows 7.”

Just yesterday, SurveyMonkey also announced that Goldberg’s widow, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, would join its board, along with former Facebook CFO David Ebersman.

In a statement, Sandberg, who is also a good friend of Veghte’s, said: “The common thread in Bill’s work is his skill in working with teams to increase the global reach of great businesses.”

He is also, presumably, someone who can take the company public, which was Goldberg’s aim. Founded in 1999, SurveyMonkey now has 500 employees and is valued at $2 billion, with investors that include Tiger Global Management, T. Rowe Price, Google Capital and Social + Capital.

Perhaps a more difficult task for Veghte will be to heal a company that has lost its prominent CEO. “It has been a tragic loss for everyone and I share in this loss too, since he was a friend and mentor,” he said. “But this company he built has the ability to take his legacy and move forward.”

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