Channel Veteran Roberts Joins HP Enterprise Group As VP

David Roberts

David Roberts, a highly respected 24-year channel veteran with stints at McAfee, Microsoft and CA, has taken a vice president job within Hewlett-Packard's Enterprise Group.

Roberts, who has been hailed by partners for driving channel sales growth in a number of high-level indirect sales assignments, joins an HP unit that reported a 4 percent drop in sales for the most recent quarter ended Oct. 31.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: HP CEO Whitman Lays Out Transition Team Plan In Internal Memo ]

Roberts was most recently helping vendors overhaul sales ecosystems as the president of Dallas-based Clear Fork Group.

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Roberts could not be reached for comment on the new role, but the job change was listed on his LinkedIn page.

"Dave is definitely a channel-friendly and channel-focused executive," said Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 234 on the CRN Solution Provider 500. "This is a very good indicator of HP staying the course and maintaining their channel commitment and direction regardless of the split. Dave is someone that has lived, breathed and knows the pains of the channel. He is going to be able to hit the ground running there versus someone else that doesn't have that channel knowledge and breadth."

Venero said he seen stronger enterprise channel commitment from Dell vs. HP over the past several years. "From my perspective, we have seen Dell invest more in us in the enterprise business than HP and that has impacted our HP enterprise sales growth," he said. "I have not held my tongue on the fact that we have had a much stronger relationship with HP on the PPS [Printing and Personal Systems] side of the business. We have struggled from a go-to-market, strategy and consistency perspective with HP in the enterprise business."

Venero said he hopes that changes with Roberts moving into a high-level role in the HP Enterprise Group. "My message to David is to sit down and understand our goals and business plan so we can go to market with HP and then measure our progress going forward," said Venero.

Roberts' appointment comes with a changing of the guard at HP's Enterprise Group, which in the most recent quarter saw a 29 percent drop in business-critical system sales, an 8 percent drop in storage sales and a 2 percent drop in industry-standard server sales.

Two months ago, Antonio Neri, a rising star within HP who previously was senior vice president and general manager of HP Servers and HP Networking business units, took over day-to-day responsibilities of the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise business.