January 27, 2016  

Red Hat CEO to deliver Discovery Lecture on organizational openness

Jim Whitehurst

Jim Whitehurst
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A leading authority on open-source innovation and author of the book, "The Open Organization: Igniting Passion and Performance," will deliver a Discovery Lecture next week to be followed by a book signing in Discovery Park.

Jim Whitehurst, president and chief executive officer of Red Hat Inc., will give the talk, The Power of Openness, at 12:30 p.m. Feb. 4 in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121. A book signing will follow at 1:30 p.m. in the nearby Venture Café. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is a part of the Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series.

"We believe better innovation comes from a lot of people working together to solve a problem," Whitehurst said. "Constant collaboration with an ecosystem of information technology leaders, corporations and partners is the future of IT."

Red Hat, based in Raleigh, North Carolina, is the world's leading provider of open-source enterprise IT products and services. The term "open source" refers to software code that can be modified because its design is publicly accessible.

"Following the principles of open-source software, Jim Whitehurst's book demonstrates how transparency, authenticity, success and openness can be applied to the world beyond software," said Purdue technology and innovation professor Sabine Brunswicker, who directs the Research Center for Open Digital Innovation in Discovery Park. "He also demonstrates how these principles are changing the nature of working and managing in the 21st century."

In May, Red Hat announced plans to partner with Purdue and sponsor a $100,000 gift to fund a two-year doctoral research position for the Research Center for Open Digital Innovation. Albert Armisen was selected as the first Red Hat Doctoral Research Fellow in Open Innovation Communities.

Whitehurst began his career in 1989 at The Boston Consulting Group in Chicago and held several corporate development leadership roles at the firm. On Sept. 11, 2001, Delta Air Lines asked Whitehurst to serve as its acting treasurer. That same week, he led the airline's secured debt offering, winning the Thomson-IVR Deal of the Year for helping reopen the capital markets. In 2002, he joined Delta full time as senior vice president of finance, treasury and business development, becoming chief operating officer in 2005.

Since joining Red Hat as president and CEO in 2008, Whitehurst has grown revenue from over $500 million at the end of February 2008 to over $1.5 billion for the first nine months of the company's 2016 fiscal year.

Under his leadership, Red Hat was named to Forbes' list of "The World's Most Innovative Companies" in 2012, 2014 and 2015. The company also was added to Standard and Poor's 500 stock index in 2009 and named one of the best places to work by Glassdoor in 2014.

Through a $1 million gift to Discovery Park from the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment, Purdue launched the Discovery Lecture Series in 2006 to bring prominent speakers to campus.

Sponsors for this Discovery Park Distinguished Lecture Series event include Lilly Endowment, Cyber Center, the Network for Computational Nanotechnology, Research Center for Open Digital Innovation, Center for Predictive Materials and Devices, Department of Technology Leadership & Innovation, Department of Computer Science and the Burton D. Morgan Center. 

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Anna Schultz, 812-447-5229 schult70@purdue.edu 

Source: Sabine Brunswicker, sbrunswi@purdue.edu  

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