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Aruba CTO, Chief Architect Leaving In The Wake Of Founder Keerti Melkote’s Departure

Aruba CTO Partha Narasimhan and Chief Architect Pradeep Iyer will be retiring, Melkote wrote in a blog post, saying that the two are ‘legends at Aruba and in the industry.’

Aruba Chief Technology Officer Partha Narasimhan and Chief Architect Pradeep Iyer have decided to retire, said Aruba founder Keerti Melkote, who stepped aside as head of the Aruba intelligent edge business effective June 1.

In a blog post, Melkote singled out the departures of the two longtime Aruba executives.

“Without their deep, long-lasting contributions to every generation of Aruba’s solutions, architecture and customers, Aruba would simply not be here,” said Melkote, who detailed the next chapter of the intelligent edge powerhouse. “They are legends at Aruba and in the industry and will be sorely missed.”

[Related: HPE’s Aruba Business Is Accelerating With Triple-Digit Growth In Edge As A Service]

The networking industry hasn’t seen the last of the three executives, said one partner who requested anonymity. “I believe they’ll be re-emerging in a couple of years with something new to play with.”

The Aruba partner said that the move doesn’t come as a surprise since the three Aruba executives stayed on for six years after the company was bought by HPE in May 2015. “Aruba imprinted their DNA on HPE during a very critical time,” the partner said.

Phil Mottram, HPE’s senior vice president of its communications group since 2019, will be stepping in as Aruba’s new president and general manager. Silver Peak founder and former CEO David Hughes, who joined the company after Aruba acquired the SD-WAN specialist in 2020, will take over as Aruba’s chief product officer and CTO, the company said.

“[Hughes] is a very seasoned networking industry veteran and I am extremely confident in his ability to continue to develop our go-forward technology direction and product road map in our uniquely Aruba way,” Melkote wrote in his blog.

Gary Berzack, CTO of eTribeca, a New York City-based solution provider and Aruba wireless partner, said he believes that by putting Silver Peak’s former leader in the CTO seat, the company will be focusing its strategy around software-defined and cloud.

“This is a space to watch with such a dramatic change with the three executives moving on to see what Aruba and HPE’s direction will be in the wireless space,” Berzack said. “The innovation that we are seeing with the likes of [Juniper] Mist and others and the greater embrace of indoor 5G and how it will work together with real-time location—who will be at the helm to address these technologies?”

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech Enterprise, an HPE Aruba partner, said it is critical that Mottram and Hughes ensure that Aruba’s innovation engine continues to fire on all cylinders.

“My hope is this new management team will follow suit, continuing to drive innovation,” said Venero. “Innovation is the big Aruba differentiator. That is why Aruba is our cloud-first networking choice. We were an Aruba partner even before HPE acquired the company. They have to continue to drive R&D and innovation.”

Venero said Future Tech views its commitment to driving technology innovation as part of its commitment to ensure customers gain a competitive advantage with its solution offerings.

“As a VAR, we believe bringing that innovation to our customers is key to our success and theirs,” he said. “That differentiates us. We always want to be at the cutting edge, not the bleeding edge.”

Mottram and Hughes also “need to make sure they help bring market awareness to the value the Aruba product set brings to customers and partners,” said Venero.

Melkote said that “there’s never an easy time to leave the company you started. I believe the right time to do it is when things are going well,” he wrote in his blog. “It is the best time to bring in new talent and leadership to fuel the energy needed to continue growth well into the future. It is with that thought in mind that I have decided that it’s time for Aruba to write its next chapter.”

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