Less than a week after he was flying the flag for the company’s Printing and Personal Systems division at HP Discover last week, Hewlett-Packard has announced that PPS chief Todd Bradley has been reassigned to a newly-created role as executive vice president of Strategic Growth Initiatives.
The new role would appear to make Bradley HP’s worldwide channel chief across its PPS and Enterprise divisions, as the company states his new role will involve “extending the company’s critical channel partner relationships around the world.”
Giving Bradley more responsibility for the company’s channel is a logical move for HP, which credits Bradley in part for the expansion of the channel ranks for HP’s PPS. Bradley has been a popular figure to HP partners, regularly holding court with a top partner or two in an interview-style keynote at the company’s partner conferences. The executive clearly spent a fair bit of time with channel partners in his previous role as PPS chief, and that figures to increase in his new role.
The announcement also comes as HP is making headway in reducing the large number of channel programs it previously held in its various businesses and geographies around the world and putting together a cohesive PartnerOne framework that ultimately reports into the global sales chiefs for PPS and Enterprise. That focus may shift to Bradley in his new role.
But heading up channel efforts is just one of three major tasks assigned to Bradley, who will report directly to CEO Meg Whitman. As strategic as the channel is for HP, it’s the other two roles that tell the tale of Bradley’s new job: he’s tasked with building the company’s business in China, and identifying partnership opportunities with “early-stage companies that can contribute to HP’s long-term growth.” Translation: startups that HP can acquire.
“There’s nothing more important to HP than our channel partners and the future of our business in China,” said Whitman in a statement announcing the new role. “I’ve asked Todd to use his expertise to focus on these areas. I’ve also asked him to study the landscape of small companies and startups that could partner with HP to spur growth.”
Growing HP’s business in China, where rival Lenovo is a major powerhouse, is a huge opportunity for the vendor, and the company points out that he received the Friendship Award from China in 2009, the highest accolade available to foreign citizens for their contributions to the nation’s development. Assigning Bradley to lead the company’s charge into a nation that has given him such an honour is an obvious move, as HP should be able to parlay Bradley’s earlier success and recognition in China into favorable deals.
Perhaps more interesting to the company’s partners in North America and around the world is his role in seeking out early-stage companies with which to partner and/or acquire. When HP and Dell were waging a bidding war over hot storage startup 3Par in 2010, many questioned the size of the investment HP made to win the day. But at last week’s HP Discover event in Las Vegas, the company was quick to repeatedly point out the kind of growth it has seen from the 3Par lineup since it was brought into the fold. Identifying and making the same kind of move with the next generation of 3Pars would go a long way to supporting the company’s drive to return to its past glory days.
On the other hand, not all HP acquisitions have been quite so rosy. While it continues to roll out parts of Autonomy throughout its software and data center lineups, that acquisition is now better known for the acrimony between HP and former Autonomy chief Mike Lynch, and the fact that it took an accounting charge of more than 85 percent of the price it paid for Autonomy in relation to “serious accounting improprieties” and “outright misrepresentations” it alleges of the former Autonomy leadership. By handing responsibility for such deals to an HP vet, as opposed to say a new-to-the-company CEO on a mission to radically change the company, HP is betting it will find more 3Pars and fewer Autonomies.
HP also announced the Dion Weisler, currently the company’s PPS chief for Asia Pacific and Japan, will move into Braldey’s former role as worldwide head of PPS. He, like Bradley before him, will report directly to Whitman and will join the company’s executive council.