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Red Hat hires veteran software industry lobbyist

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Red Hat is bulking up its lobbying muscle by recruiting a top government affairs executive from a software industry trade group.

The Raleigh-based company, which is the world's largest distributor of open-source software, today named Mark Bohannon as its vice president of Corporate Affairs and Global Public Policy as of Oct. 1.

As Red Hat's prominence in the global software market continues to rise, company officials want to ensure they have government allies on issues such as technology policy, intellectual property legislation and tax regulation. Bohannon also will push government agencies to embrace the use of open source software and standards.

Red Hat's Linux computer-operating software, which can more easily be customized by users, is increasingly seen as an alternative to proprietary software such as Microsoft's Windows. Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst has said he expects annual revenue to reach $1 billion by 2012.

“Mark brings a wealth of experience in technology policy at the state, national and international government levels,” said Michael Cunningham, Red Hat's general counsel, in a prepared statement. “His expertise will be a valuable asset to Red Hat in working effectively with global policy makers on key issues affecting the company.”

Bohannon, 52, will be based in Washington, D.C. He joins Red Hat after 10 years with the Software & Information Industry Association, which represents the software and digital content industry.

Previously, he was a senior official of the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he helped set technology and Internet policies. Bohannon earned his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and his law degree from George Washington University.

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About the blogger

Assistant Business Editor Alan M. Wolf joined the N&O in 1999 covering the business of health care. He became an editor in 2001, and helps oversee the paper's daily business coverage and Sunday Work&Money section. He lives in Clayton with his wife and two children. Reach him at 919-829-4572 or e-mail him.