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Enrique Lores: Channel To Remain 'Critical' Amid HP CEO Transition

Lores, who heads HP’s printing and imaging business, will be taking the reins at HP on Nov. 1 as CEO Dion Weisler steps down.

As HP Inc. prepares to undergo its first chief executive transition since its split from Hewlett Packard Enterprise in 2015, CEO-to-be Enrique Lores said that channel partners will remain as central as ever to the strategy going forward.

Lores, president of Imaging, Printing and Solutions at HP, is set to succeed CEO Dion Weisler as of Nov. 1. Weisler will be stepping down as CEO due to a family health matter, HP said.

[Related: HP's Enrique Lores On Staying 'Differentiated' From Xerox Amid Printer Partnership]

During a call with CRN and an analyst on Thursday, Lores said he remains committed to working closely with channel partners to drive HP's businesses in areas such as PC and print.

Lores said he "definitely will not change the importance of the channel for the company” as CEO.

"We want to continue to expand and grow their businesses," he said.

HP's channel, in fact, is what led Lores to leave his home country of Spain to move to California a decade ago, he said.

"When I did that, it was to run the overall channel organization for the company. So I understand the channel. I have managed the relationship between the company and the channel," Lores said. "And they are really critical for us today. And they will be in the future."

Lores--who has been president of Imaging, Printing and Solutions at HP since the 2015 split--was the unanimous choice by the board of directors to become the new HP CEO, the company said.

Lores has been with HP for three decades, having originally started as an engineering intern.

"He's been in almost every part of the business—PCs, core print, industrial business, services," Weisler said. "I have every confidence in the entire team and in Enrique's ability to take us to the next level, the next chapter of this storied company's history."

Lores was also a "key architect of the separation" of Hewlett-Packard, Weisler said.

Lores "is respected in the channel," said Juan Fernandez, vice president of managed IT services at Oklahoma City, Okla.-based ImageNet Consulting. "He's been in all aspects of the business. He's got a very well-rounded approach."

On the call, Lores said he looks forward to "continue pushing the limits of what is possible. And you have seen us doing that across all of our businesses during the last years."

Lores said he recently completed "a deep business review of all of our portfolio."

"This has given me great knowledge of all the businesses of the company, and of the great opportunities that we have ahead of us. Because as we know, customer behavior is changing. And this is going to continue to open opportunities across all of our businesses," he said.

Key priorities in coming weeks will include "working very closely with Dion to make sure that we deliver on our Q4 performance," Lores said. "I will also continue working on the transformation that we have embarked on, to put customers in the center of everything we do."

Weisler will remain at the company through January 2020 to help with the CEO transition, and will continue serving on the board of directors at HP until the next annual meeting of stockholders, the company said.

"This is not a decision that I took lightly. Because I'm not only thinking about our 55,000 people, I'm thinking about the over 250,000 people that are part of our extended community" in the channel, Weisler said.

Weisler added that "four years ago, a lot of people doubted us. And we never did. And I certainly never did."

"We really reinvigorated and reinvented the company. We've got a strong track record of results. And we've been on this phone call with you now for 15 quarters in a row, and over that time, we've driven $7 billion in annual revenue growth, $13 billion in free cash flow," Weisler said. "And from a non-GAAP EPS perspective, we've been at or above consensus 15 out of 15 quarters. So I like that average. I think we've got a company that is in incredibly great shape."

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