NetApp CFO Ron Pasek Set To Retire

Pasek told CRN that he has always wanted to retire before he reaches 60 years old, and that his retirement have nothing to do with NetApp's recent revenue decreases or the departure of several other top NetApp executives.


NetApp Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Ron Pasek is retiring.

George Kurian, CEO of the storage vendor, said during the company's third fiscal quarter 2020 financial conference call that Pasek plans to retire from NetApp after four years with the company, and that he is grateful for Pasek's achievements and wishes him well in his future endeavors.

Pasek, who joined NetApp in April of 2016, told CRN that he plans to retire after helping the company transition to a new chief financial officer and focus more on joining other companies' boards of directors.

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Pasek said his planned retirement has nothing to do with the past couple of financial quarters where NetApp surprised the industry with reports of falling revenue.

Rather, he said, it is a move that has been in the works for months.

"It's something that I've been talking to George about for some time, honestly," he said. "It might seem abrupt to you, but it's not to me."

Pasek said that before joining NetApp, his long-term goal was to retire before he turned 60 years old, an event that will happen some time this year.

"I think as I've worked here the last four years, I've kind of accomplished most of what I wanted to do [including] structurally improving gross product margins back to the mid-50 [percent], which we did," he said. "I wanted to get our EPS (earnings per share) into the $4 to $5 range. With tax reform, I wanted this buyback to get approved, and it's nearly done. And then we've dramatically improved the dividend as well."

NetApp also has a much better handle on its costs and trade-offs, Pasek said.

"And we're about to start a new fiscal year, and although I'm working on a plan with George and the team, the new CFO is going to have to own the new fiscal year plan," he said. "So it's a good transition time."

Pasek admitted that his departure might seem tied to the departure of several other top NetApp executives and to the company's financial performance in the last couple quarters, but said that is not the case.

"There's no single reason for each of our departures. I think as we continue to transform as a company, change at all levels is expected, and to some extent welcome. New people can bring really fresh ideas and different skillsets. You can see we're transitioning as a company. We're more than just a hardware box-selling company. I think we clearly have a cloud initiative to help monetize our software through the hyperscalers, help our customers with their multi-cloud journey. And those are different skills. New execs can bring different skills to help complement that, too."

NetApp has in the last few years seen the departure of multiple top executives.

Henri Richard, NetApp's executive vice president of worldwide field and customer operations, in November, said he would be retiring in the near future.

Jeff McCullough, the company's channel chief and vice president of Americas partner sales, left NetApp in September.

In August came the departures of two executives: Joel Reich, executive vice president of NetApp's storage systems and software business unit, and Thomas Stanley, senior vice president of the Americas.

In July, Tom Mendoza, NetApp's vice chairman and one of its first sales leaders, said he was retiring from the company after a 25-year run.

Also in July Jean English, NetApp's senior vice president and chief marketing officer, departed to take on a new role as chief marketing officer at cybersecurity giant Palo Alto Networks.

One executive for a large NetApp channel partner told CRN, on condition of anonymity, that NetApp is apparently continuing to struggle to find its voice, message and relevance in the market.

"It's unfortunate that the CFO is not the only executive to leave NetApp in the last year," the solution provider said. "I hope NetApp can get back on track in short order."