HP's Whitman Thrills VARs With Channel Stance

meg whitman hewlett packard

HP CEO Meg Whitman

Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Meg Whitman told partners in no uncertain terms Tuesday that the vendor will not stand for any channel business being taken direct on her watch.

In her keynote speech at the HP Global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, Whitman reiterated her commitment to partners. To an enthusiastic response from the thousands of partner representatives gathered, she outlined a hard-line stance on any reseller business being taken direct by the vendor’s sales force.

“We now have a clear policy about taking business away from the channel and going direct,” she said. “My message to you is that this simply will not be tolerated. Everyone in HP is crystal clear on the behavior we expect, and I am holding myself and our account executives accountable for any behavior that is not befitting of HP.”

Whitman’s keynote speech came just hours after HP rolled out a significant revamp of its PartnerOne program, including a commitment of more than $1.5 billion to be spent on the worldwide channel program.

The HP boss also encouraged attendees to pay scant regard to any media reports casting doubt on the health of HP’s finances. She claimed that the $10.6 billion cashflow from operations generated last year spoke to the strength of the vendor’s balance sheet, pointing out that this figure is higher than the most recent annual total of Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Visa. Net debt was also reduced by $5.8 billion last year, she added.

Whitman also restated her commitment to delivering on her four-year turnaround plan for the vendor. Last year was about diagnosing problems with 2013 being about implementing solutions, she said. Next year will be about recovery, with the turnaround completed in 2015.

“It would be easy to do some short-term things that would make the financials look better, but we are on a journey to turn HP around,” she added. “It is not going to happen overnight, but we know what needs to get done and we are doing it. But you will not have to wait until 2015 to see progress.”

Whitman closed her speech by telling partners that there is no vendor as well placed as HP to both shape and benefit from industry trends such as mobility, big data and the move towards the cloud.

“We are the only company in the industry that can bring our customers all the way from hardware, to software to services, and from the enterprise to the consumer,” she said. “If we take advantage of this, we will shape the direction of the industry for another generation.”

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