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NetApp CFO On Why He’s Leaving And Why Not To Obsess Over Financials

Ron Pasek, who this week said he plans to retire from his role at NetApp during a time when NetApp is looking at how to restart growth, told CRN why he is retiring now and why businesses should not read too much into the company's recent financials.

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So first of all, Ron, why are you leaving NetApp?

It's something that I've been talking to George [Kurian, NetApp CEO] about for some time, honestly. It might seem abrupt to you, but it's not to me. When I joined NetApp, I knew it would probably be my last role. I had a goal of retiring before I'm 60.

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-50s [percent], which we did. I wanted to get our EPS (earnings per share) into the $4 to $5 range. With tax reform, I wanted [our] buyback to get approved, and it's nearly done. And then we've dramatically improved the dividend as well.

And so those were my big things. We also inside have a much better handle on our costs and tradeoffs for what we want to do [and] what we want to stop doing. And then the timing is such that 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. So it's a good transition time.

It's something George and I have been talking about for several months, if not quarters. And, you know, I certainly wanted to give him enough time to find a successor as well.

So have you hit the 60 mark yet?

End of this year, I will.

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