HP Hires Former NetApp Exec To Head HP Storage

Manish Goel

Hewlett-Packard has hired an experienced NetApp veteran to run HP storage, CRN has learned.

Manish Goel, who until September 2013 served as NetApp's executive vice president of product operations, is the new senior vice president and general manager for HP storage as of Monday, according to an internal memo read by CRN.

Goel takes over for David Scott, who retired as of Friday. Scott was CEO of 3Par when HP acquired that company in 2010 and is credited with making 3Par the centerpiece of HP's storage business.

[Related: Two Top 3PAR Storage Execs Leaving HP, According To Leaked Memo]

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In the memo, Antonio Neri, senior vice president and general manager of the HP Enterprise Group, wrote that Scott provided HP with a template of what it needed in a new leader, including "a respected expert in the storage industry, a proven leader of large global organizations with multiple billion dollars in revenue, and passion for people and technology."

Neri called Goel "a strategic leader will help all of you better map our innovations to customer outcomes, which will drive stronger business results."

HP, Palo Alto, Calif., did not respond to a request for further information on the memo.

HP's storage business has done well in the past year. Research firm IDC last week estimated that HP grew its total disk storage systems revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014 by 4.8 percent over the prior year, and that HP's external disk storage revenue rose 3.3 percent over the same period. NetApp's storage business fell 3.5 percent during that time, IDC reported.

However, solution providers told CRN, while HP has done well growing its storage business, the company still needs to focus more on solutions vs. products, which they think will happen now that Goel is joining the company.

The hiring of Goel was a great move for HP, said Tom Holt, vice president of sales at Bedrock Technology Partners, a San Diego-based solution provider and partner of HP and NetApp.

Holt, who previously worked at NetApp with Goel, told CRN that Goel managed parts of NetApp's operations with a focus on innovations that moved that company away from a product focus toward a data center focus.

"Manish presided over the business as it developed the FlexPod converged infrastructure solution," Holt said. "He's definitely going to be able to help HP in the converged infrastructure area."

Goel was involved with NetApp at a time of major innovation for the company, Holt said. "He was the guy who led NetApp when we were at our best," he said. "He's very, very good. Personally, he's a good guy. Tech-wise, he's a smart guy. HP is bringing in top-notch people. This is a good time for him to be there. I'm happy for him, and for HP."

Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider and HP partner, told CRN he is not familiar with Goel, but that HP has a good track record of bringing in executives from competitors.

"More and more I am seeing HP going outside to bring in executives like that," Case said.

John Woodall, vice president of engineering at Integrated Archive Systems (IAS), a Palo Alto, Calif.-based solution provider and longtime NetApp channel partner, told CRN via email that Goel is a sharp executive who most recently got some CEO-level experience at Guavus, a San Mateo, Calif.-based provider of big data services.

Woodall wrote that it will be interesting to see how Goel will transition from a fairly focused product operations role at NetApp to a very broad and deep portfolio of products.

"I think it is likely good for HP," Woodall wrote. "I would also add that this is the first time in a while (and some may disagree) that HP has had a storage leader that actually worked on and delivered innovative products to the market. I do think HP has some good products, just too many. … I do think he will bring a different tone to their storage business, but we will have to see what that actually means moving forward."

With the hiring of Goel as the new head of HP storage, the interim head, Bill Philbin, is resuming his role leading the Virtual Development Unit for HP storage where he will report to Goel, Neri wrote in his memo.