'Pre-Father' Jon Rubenstein takes over Palm CEO spot

Palm on Wednesday announced that Jon Rubenstein, the former Apple exec who was lured out of a hammock on a Puerto Vallarta beach to helm the development and launch of the Pre, will step into the CEO role on Friday. Ed Colligan, who led the company for 16 years, will take some time off before joining Elevation Partners, the venture-cap firm instrumental in bringing Rubenstein in.

Mr. Rubenstein got his start at HP, has long been credited with helping to invent the iPod and served as the first head of the company's iPod division. Now known as Apple's "pod-father," he has been aboard Palm since July, but only official as executive chairman since October. Before that, teams of Elevation and Palm execs were making pilgrimages to Mexico to coax him off that beach, as he famously told the crowd at the CES Pre unveiling back in January.

Since arrival, he's revamped Palm's R&D teams to focus them on single projects and appointing project directors to own those processes. Eleven months later, the company behaves much less like the Palm that brought out the Pilot and its heirs and more like, well, Apple. Some old-guard players left, and some were brought aboard -- notably "design hippie" Matías Duarte, the "design hippie" and Vice President of Human Interface and User Experience widely credited with much of the Pre's signature look and feel.

Colligan will have continued influence on Palm in his new role at Elevation, but it's unclear at this time whether he plans to retain a seat on the Board of Directors.

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