Dell names former CA CEO head of software unit

John Swainson, former CEO of CA, will be in charge of building out Dell's software unit.

Dell has added a software heavyweight to its management ranks in a sign that the company is serious about moving beyond its traditional hardware footprint.

The company named John Swainson president of its software group starting March 5 (statement). Swainson, who was a senior advisor to private equity firm Silver Lake and CEO of CA, will report to CEO Michael Dell.

Swainson (right) has been credited with setting CA straight during his tenure from 2005 to 2009. Prior to CA, Swainson was an IBM executive for 26 years.

In other words, Swainson has the chops and experience to sell software to large enterprises.

For its part, Dell has been transitioning away from hardware into software and services. The company's most notable acquisition was software as a service outfit Boomi. The acquisition of Perot Systems also gave it a services arm.

Dell said the software unit will aim to provide more applications and an organization to support sales growth. Swainson said in a statement that he was looking forward to building out Dell's software unit. CEO Dell said the plan was to integrate software throughout the company's products.