Aruba President Dominic Orr Retiring, Aruba Founder Melkote To Continue Aggressive 'Beat Cisco' Sales Charge


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Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote
Dominic Orr and Keerti Melkote

Dominic Orr, the fiercely competitive leader who as president has driven robust sales growth at Aruba Networks for the last decade, is retiring at the end of the month, according to an internal Hewlett Packard Enterprise memo obtained by CRN.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Executive Group Executive Vice President Antonio Neri said it is with "mixed emotions" that he was announcing the retirement of Orr, the passionate and ever vocal sales leader who has directed the constant, no holds barred battle to capture share against networking market leader Cisco.

Orr, 66, who will continue as an advisor to Aruba, will officially step down on Jan. 31.

[RELATED: CRN Exclusive - Aruba Founder Melkote On President's Departure, Keeping Aruba's DNA Intact And Picking A Fight With Cisco]

"Dom has been an important part of my leadership team since HPE’s acquisition of Aruba Networks in 2015, and has constantly shown an energy, passion, and commitment to our customers that is truly second-to-none," said Neri in the memo. "On a personal note, his counsel and friendship have meant a great deal to me, and I know he will be deeply missed by not only the Aruba team, but all of our employees, customers, and partners."

Orr's decision to retire comes 22 months after HPE announced that it was acquiring Aruba in a $3 billion deal that has resulted in astronomical networking sales growth for HPE.

"Delivering six quarters of strong performance, Dom has co-led the HPE Aruba business with Keerti Melkote (Aruba founder and CTO), focusing on go to market strategy and sales execution," said Neri. "With Dom's departure, there will be no change to the charter or operating model of the HPE Aruba Group."

Effective Feb. 1, the Aruba sales organization, including marketing, business operations, customer advocacy, operations and supply chain, will report to Melkote, who previously was only responsible for Aruba's technology strategy.

In an interview with CRN, Melkote, who sees Orr as a "big brother" of sorts that has always been there for him and Aruba, said he was ready to carry the Aruba sales torch forward- stepping into a more prominent customer and partner facing role.

"I will be more outbound now that I am one in a box," he said. "I'll be meeting more with customers and partners. And Dom is not going away. I am going to continue to leverage my relationship with him."

Melkote said he plans to become more vocal with regard to rallying partners to grab share from Cisco. "That is part of the (Aruba) DNA," he said. "We'll pick the fight to go beat Cisco. That's the rallying cry for the organization. It always has been and it always will be."


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