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Name and title: Michael Cunningham, general counsel Age: 46 Company of the century: Red Hat Inc., the world’s leading open-source and Linux software provider, ambitiously declares its corporate mission: “To be the defining technology company of the 21st century.” The century has a lot of years left, but the company, headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., with satellite offices worldwide, is off to a respectable start. Red Hat recorded $278.3 million in total revenue in 2006, an increase of 42% from fiscal 2005. Significantly, net income tallied $79.7 million, an increase of 75% from fiscal 2005. Red Hat offers a comprehensive line of software subscriptions, services and support. Its customers include a constellation of academic and research institutions, all levels of government and a who’s-who list of corporations, among them Amazon.com Inc., AOL LLC, Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc., DreamWorks SKA, VeriSign Inc., Morgan Stanley and The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. The company has partnerships in place with International Business Machines Inc., Dell Inc., Hewlett-Packard Co., Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Fujitsu Ltd., Intel Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and BEA Systems Inc., and its products are certified by more than 2,000 hardware and software vendors. For the past two years, Red Hat has topped the annual CIO Insight Vendor Value study, a survey of approximately 900 U.S.-based information technology executives, beating Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Dell and McAfee Inc. Route to present position: Cunningham’s r�sum� includes his time as a certified commercial deep-sea diver and dive instructor, but his main professional roots are in engineering. He went to work in 1983 for Sperry Defense Electronics, now Unisys Corp., following graduation from the State University of New York, Stony Brook, with a Bachelor of Science in applied mathematics and statistics. Cunningham focused on systems engineering for radar and defense communications at Sperry but left in 1985 for the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Following graduation in 1988 (magna cum laude and Order of the Coif) he went to work for the Dechert law firm, handling securities offerings and both public and private mergers and acquisitions. In 1994, Cunningham moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as a partner and associate general counsel overseeing international transactional legal services for PwC Consulting. When PwC sold its technology business to International Business Machines Corp. in 2002, Cunningham moved to Big Blue as associate general counsel. He served until 2004 as the lead lawyer for the business consulting services division for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and was a member of the global senior management team for business consulting services. Yet Cunningham found the vastly smaller Red Hat irresistible, and signed on as its general counsel in June 2004. “You don’t have too many opportunities to participate with a first mover in technology in a career,” he said. “I had a sense Red Hat was such an opportunity and was changing the world, disrupting value chains. IBM is a superb corporation and I have nothing bad to say about it, but it is a privilege to participate in a company like Red Hat that is doing some good around the world as well as making a profit.” Legal team: Cunningham’s legal department includes a two-person corporate affairs group that oversees government relations, a commercial contracting function that keeps 10 people busy, a core legal team of 10 that is allocated roughly half for corporate matters and half for IP, and an equity compensation team. Litigation is less of a concern than many people might assume. “Open-source software has no greater affinity for problems with software patents than does proprietary software,” Cunningham said. “The empirical evidence at the moment is [that] proprietary software attracts more software patent claims. Just take a look at the number of lawsuits pending against Microsoft.” Outside counsel: Red Hat retains Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr for corporate work, securities and IP, with Kilpatrick Stockton of Atlanta also handling corporate and IP. DLA Piper represents the company in Europe. Daily duties: Cunningham’s days are taken up by his work as counselor to Chief Executive Officer Matthew Szulik, his executive duties helping to run Red Hat and by his work to make the world a better place for, and with, open-source software. “We are constantly moving into new territories and new directions, so there is a lot of basic blocking and tackling I oversee in terms of opening new offices in new countries, restructuring work and corporate work that is necessary for us to keep up with our growth,” he said. “I spend a fair bit of time helping to think about intellectual property law issues.” Red Hat, along with a number of big-name technology firms, is deeply involved in the Community Patent Review project of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The goal is a collaborative online system for peer review of patents. “There are not many people who question the fact that the quality of some of the software patents issued [is] suspect,” Cunningham said. “If we are going to have an intellectual property regime, it will have to grant patent rights for good reason and good innovation.” Red Hat is involved with One Laptop per Child, a nonprofit association launched by faculty members at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab to develop a $100 laptop. “I can say with reckless abandon that Red Hat is relevant,” Cunningham said. “It is relevant to users because it is providing value in ways that heretofore haven’t been seen. It’s important in the world because it is affecting technology transfers at costs that heretofore were impossible. That’s why we have such a large international presence for such a small company.” Personal: Cunningham is a passionate fisherman in saltwater and freshwater alike. He and his wife, Jane Whittendale, have two children � Spencer, 14, and Austin, 12, both of whom play piano, guitar and bass, among other instruments. Playing music with his sons is his favorite pastime. “I play the blues with them, in the privacy of my home,” he said. Last book: Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin. “It’s just a whole different view of Lincoln,” Cunningham said. “Until she dug into it, nobody realized his political genius, among apparently many other geniuses.” Last movie: Little Miss Sunshine.

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