HP Executive Shuffle: Veghte To Oversee HP Enterprise Split

Hewlett-Packard is shuffling its executive lineup, moving Bill Veghte, the executive vice president of its enterprise business, into the separation management office for the enterprise business as the company splits into two $57 billion publicly traded companies, sources said.

Antonio Neri, a rising star within HP who is currently senior vice president and general manager of HP Servers and HP Networking Business Units, will replace Veghte as the head of the enterprise business, sources said.

Enrique Lores, who is currently senior vice president of business PC solutions for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Business, will lead the separation management office for the HP Inc. printing and personal systems business.

HP would not comment on specific management changes, but in a statement said: "As part of our announced separation plan to create two new Fortune 50 companies we have a comprehensive plan in place to ensure that we execute a successful separation with minimal disruption to HP and our partners."

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[Related: CRN Exclusive: CEO Meg Whitman On Everything You Need To Know About HP's Split ]

The executive shuffle comes as HP ramps up its effort to build two independent businesses: a PC and Printing business that will retain current branding and logo known as HP Inc. and an enterprise business made up of enterprise systems, software and services that will do business as Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

Solution providers said Veghte's steady hand will be critical in assuring HP's Enterprise business split which is scheduled to be completed by the end of HP's fiscal year 2015 ended Oct. 31, 2015, is successful.

"Bill is absolutely the right guy for the job given the potential for noise and disruption," said Jed Ayres, chief marketing officer for MCPc, the $262 million Cleveland-based national solution provider ranked No. 89 on the CRN Solution Provider 500 list. "Bill just mitigates all of the risk that comes with the split. What (HP CEO) Meg (Whitman) has done is take one of the company's best and brightest to make sure the split doesn't impact customers, partners or employees."

Veghte has worked side by side with Whitman on the five year turnaround plan starting as executive vice president of HP Software, moving to chief strategy officer, then to chief operating officer and finally the head of the HP Enterprise Group.

"Bill has the right aperture for this job," said Ayres. "He has the respect of both sides of the business. He understands the personalities and the complexity of the job. There is no one better suited to pull this off."

Veghte's ability to collaborate successfully with all the constituencies of the enterprise business is going to be critical,, said Ayres. "This gives us as partners more confidence in the split," he said. "Bill is very approachable. We know if there is some component of the split that doesn't feel right we can call Bill and he will listen."

As for Neri, Ayres said given his track record there is little doubt that the 19-year HP veteran, who was promoted to the role of senior vice president and general manager of HP Servers and HP Networking just seven months ago, will hit the ground running. "Antonio has a lot of street cred as a a dynamic executive who understands the business, the technology, gets the partner community and gets stuff done," said Ayres.

NEXT: Veghte's Appointment Makes Partners More Optimistic About HP's Future

Mike Strohl, CEO of Concord, Calif.-based HP Platinum partner Entisys Solutions, which ranked No. 253 on the 2014 Solution Provider 500, said the executive moves makes him more optimistic about his plans to grow his HP business by as much as 40 percent annually over the next two years. "Those are big numbers and this gives us more confidence in them," he said. "We have made a very heavy investment as an organization both with HP as it relates to our customers and the enterprise data center business. More focus there is great for us. Everything that HP has done has created a net positive for us. I think this is going to do nothing but help us accelerate and grow our business and increase the closeness we have with HP as a partner."

Strohl said he sees Veghte's move into the separation management office ensuring the enterprise split goes off without a hitch. "This is an awesome move," he said. "Bill has been at the core of everything (HP CEO) Meg (Whitman) has done culturally to turn this organization around and make it what it is now, and what it is becoming. Having Bill take ownership of this puts us in a position to create true continuity and best of breed results for everybody."

Veghte's appointment underlies the importance of the split to create "more opportunity, more innovation and better results for both companies and their partners," said Strohl.

Neri, meanwhile, has been groomed as Veghte's successor and will make sure HP's enterprise business continues on an upward trajectory, said Strohl. "With an executive like Bill you always have to have a succession plan," he said. "It's clear to me that Antonio was the focus of that succession plan. To me this is all part of Meg executing the split plan. Antonio has her trust and has been instrumental in a lot of the positive things we have experienced as an HP enterprise partner."
Strohl said he sees Whitman's turnaround proceeding with meticulous precision. "Often you see organizations make moves and you scratch your head saying this makes no sense, but with HP you see each and every step as the right move," he said. "There are a lot of competitors that are going to try to knock HP which is what you would expect, but what the rest of us see is a well thought out plan that is being expertly executed. That is cool."

Whitman, for her part, told CRN in an interview at CRN parent The Channel Company's Best of Breed Conference last month that HP had been planning the split for some time. "We have in fact been thinking about this for a while," she said. "You have to think hard about this. It is at such a scale- 275,000 employees, 150,000 partners, 166 countries."

Whitman also told CRN that it is critical that HP remain focused on driving the business forward as it moves to finalize the split. "Virtually no one will have a foot in both camps," she said discussing the separation management team. "We will have a separation team and a business run team."