by Peter High, published on Forbes
Dion Weisler is the Executive Vice President of HP’s Printing and Personal Systems organization, a $57 billion annual revenue business that includes personal computers, mobility devices, technical workstations, printers, graphics solutions, managed-print services, and internet services. He has been named the future CEO of HP Inc. when that company separates from Hewlett Packard Enterprise later this year. His rise at HP has been meteoric, and his prior success at both Acer and Lenovo, including stints in dozens of countries across the globe mean that he has a healthy knowledge of the competitive landscape and appreciation for the need to balance serving mature markets and developing markets differently.
I met with Weisler at HP Discover, the company’s customer event in Las Vegas earlier this month. We met in a make-shift office his leadership team kept in the Venetian Las Vegas. He was surrounded by members of his leadership team as we spoke, but the casual yet insightful conversation offered great insight into where things stand in the separation, his own thoughts about where he sees opportunities for the future, and I got a glimpse into how excited he is about the future of HP Inc., and the need to emphasize innovation (including pursuing moon-shot-type projects), and the need to find talent across the globe.
(This is the 11th article in the IT Influencers series. To read past interviews with executive such as Sal Khan of Khan Academy, Jim Goodnight of SAS, Sebastian Thrun of Udacity, Yves Behar of Fuseproject, former Mexican President Vicente Fox, and Sir James Dyson of Dyson Company, please visit this link. To read future articles in the series, please click the “Follow” link above.)
Peter High: Dion, I thought that we would begin with how things are progressing as HP Inc. becomes its own independent entity, separate from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Where are you in the transition?
Dion Weisler: This is a massive undertaking for all the right reasons. We are more convinced with every day that goes by, that this was exactly the right thing to do because our markets are changing, and the customers are changing.
The personal systems business, the printing business, and the consumer side of the business has always moved pretty quickly. What you could always count on in the past is that the enterprise business took things a little slower and in its stride. The pace is much faster now. Therefore, to service our customers’ needs to be flexible, to be agile, to be really focused on what we have to do here, it makes all the sense in the world. As we talked to CIOs, as we speak to customers, and as we speak to our partners, they absolutely get what we are doing here. We are more than halfway through our journey, and I think things are going exactly according to plan.
When we started, we established a separation management office. I think we had every consulting agency on the planet involved at one point or another. The best practice is to keep the business running. Ninety-nine and a half percent of us are focused on the day-to-day running of the business and mainly focused on the customers and partners, whilst a relative handful of folks are focused on separation all day, every day, and they are doing a colossal task. The long pole in the tent, of course, is IT because this company has been together for 75 years and we have made something like 70 acquisitions along the way, sucked all those companies in, and bulked their IT systems onto our IT systems. We must now disentangle this organization that operates in more than 160 countries around the planet with thousands of applications, disentangling all of the entities and the tax structures, and the like. This will be completed in the back-half of the year.
As excitement builds, we are emboldened to accelerate innovation, to accelerate our focus on the customers, and you can feel it around the company. People are feeling very accountable for their business. They feel sharp and they are excited about what this means for both.