HPE CEO Whitman To Channel: I Have A Long-Term Commitment To HPE, Partners, And 'The Mission We Are On'


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Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman told CRN she is firmly committed to leading HPE into the future.

"I would like to underscore to partners that I have a long term commitment to HPE and to the partners and to the mission that we are on," said Whitman in an exclusive interview with CRN Tuesday. "Yes, I talked to Uber [about the CEO job] at the end of their process because it is a business model I am very familiar with. It reminds me of eBay [where Whitman was CEO from 1998 to 2008] in many ways. But it wasn't the right thing. I think HPE is very special in its own right."

[Related: Partners 'Overjoyed' Whitman Is Staying Put As HPE CEO]

Whitman had asserted in a tweet on July 27 that she planned to remain the CEO at HPE after reports that she was on the short list for the Uber CEO job. The Uber board, however, spoke to Whitman about the Uber CEO job over the weekend of August 26 after former GE CEO Jeff Immelt took himself out of contention. The Uber board ultimately selected Expedia CEO Dana Khosrowshahi.

The Whitman pledge of "long-term commitment" came as HPE delivered better-than-expected earnings results for its third fiscal quarter ended July 31. The company's core server sales were up 13 percent; it reported 200 percent growth in SimpliVity hyper-converged sales; 30 percent growth in all-flash sales driven by Nimble and a whopping 30 percent growth in the Aruba wireless LAN business, with 70 new customers wins.

"Nearly 100 percent of the Aruba business goes through the channel and 70 to 80 percent of the core enterprise group business goes through the channel, so the channel did a great job," said Whitman. "The channel deserves a lot of credit for the results of the company both the new logo wins as well as selling  more into the installed base."

Overall HPE reported non-GAAP diluted net earnings per share of 30 cents per share on sales of $8.2 billion. The Wall Street consensus was non-GAAP diluted net earnings of 26 cents per share on sales of $7.49 billion. HPE shares were up $0.70 (4.99%) to $14.74 in after-hours trading on Tuesday.

Whitman told CRN the strong results are evidence that the reinvention of HPE into a smaller, more nimble company focused on making hybrid IT simple, powering the intelligent edge and providing digital transformation IT services is paying off in the form of higher sales growth and margins for partners.

"The partners should be pleased by the results of the company," said a charged up Whitman. "This will give their customers the confidence to buy from HPE. I am feeling good about where we are as a company, and I am feeling great about the partners and distributors that we do business with every day."

Whitman said she is especially proud of the stabilization of the core server business which will help drive better results for partners. HPE's strong Synergy composable infrastructure sales have even driven up sales of bread and butter C7000 blade sales, she said. Customers feel confident in the server road map with blades and Synergy, said Whitman.

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