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Healing the cracks: HP's comeback

Joe Lipscombe | April 25, 2013
As the dust begins to settle following arguably HP's most challenging era, Middle East managing director, Eyad Shihabi, talks to Joe Lipscombe about where the wheels came off, and how retracing the steps back to the beginning will provide the spark needed to launch the company into the future.

In November last year, HP took an $8.8 billion writedown following the news that Autonomy had grossly misrepresented its finances. What was the reaction like from your customers and partners in the immediate aftermath?

I went into meetings thinking I was going to have to do some explaining, however, when I arrived I was stopped and told to deliver a message to our CEO saying they salute what Meg has done. They believe in the technology and that's different to the acquisitions. I replied 'you just saved me half an hour'. Smart people, business people, understand what Meg has done and the culture she has inspired. When we make a mistake, we acknowledge it and move on.

And since then, what has the vibe been like?

Look, we're one of the most successful and vigilant brands in the world. Last quarter, we over achieved and that brings confidence to us. Before, in the big quarters we were under-shooting the mark, because our vision wasn't clear and we had problems in-house. But, we cleaned up the foundations, we changed things, and now we've never been more confident.

And in regards to your channel -- partners recently expressed their concerns with HP going into direct competition with them. Locally, 99 percent of your business is channel, so how have you dealt with these concerns?

The channel plays a vital role, more so here than anywhere else globally perhaps. We did have some issues where, in places, HP was stepping on the toes of partners, because we didn't have an aligned channel policy. We didn't have a single channel that dealt with the service channel and the product channel, this caused confusion and lack of trust. So, we restructured this so it was all under one simple leadership. I went on a tour to meet all the partners, lay out the foundation of the changes, explain the alignment and now our satisfaction has tripled. We will never increase our direct business here. Those partners are crucial to us.



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