Alexander's appointment is significant as new product development was a big driver behind the plan to separate Agilent's test and life sciences businesses, when it was announced last September.
He will manage the increased investment which is anticipated for the test business.
Keysight will have the same product roadmap and its own R&D laboratories with a focus on electronic measurement as a pure-play test and measurement company.
The new business will have to compete in the test market by its own financial and product strategies. There will be no corporate safety net.
As a result the ‘new Agilent’ more opportunistic in its product plans and more aggressive on price than the ‘old’ company was.
Alexander was previously vice president and general manager for the oscilloscope and protocol division.
Alexander joined Hewlett-Packard in 1986 as a manufacturing and test engineer. Three years later he became test engineering manager for HP’s oscilloscopes and logic analysers at the company’s Colorado Springs Division.
Alexander later moved to R&D as a software development engineer and subsequently served in various R&D management positions.
“We looked inside and outside our company for someone who not only knows technology but has led a business organisation and therefore understands business issues as well,” said Keysight president and CEO Ron Nersesian.
"Jay has a strong R&D background, is highly respected in the industry, and has helped drive key growth and profit increases in the company.”
The decision to split the group seems to have been determined in part by the strong growth of the life sciences arm over the last few years. The test and measurement business had sales of $2.9bn in this last financial year. The life sciences and chemical analysis systems business is more profitable and larger with sales of $3.9bn.
Agilent creates more agressive test business