HP Inc waves bye to EMEA president with 'immediate effect'

Senior exec carries can for screwup in supplies, missing rev targets for 3 quarters

Man runs to fire exit in a corridor

Exclusive HP Inc has bid farewell to EMEA president Nick Lazaridis amid the collapse of the supplies business - historically the company's cash cow.

The departure follows the swift resignation of CEO Dion Weisler for personal reasons a few weeks ago, which our contacts close to the organisation insist was not related to the performance of the PC and printer maker.

In a note to HP's nearest and dearest in the tech channel, it confirmed the sudden departure of the EMEA boss.

"Nick Lazaridis will leave HP immediately," the memo stated, adding that he had been an "important leader in EMEA and we are grateful for his support and contribution. Replacing Nick is Helena Herrero, MD for HP Iberia, who will serve as interim president for HP EMEA."

Herrero is well known to HP's new CEO Enrique Lores, a fellow Spanish national who was until recently global head of the imaging, printing and solutions group before he took over from Weisler.

Smart bets are on HP current UK and Ireland head, George Brasher, being named as the EMEA president. He seems to be well liked across swathes of the channel - where HP does the majority of its business.

Sources told us Lazaridis was carrying the can for HP's collapsing supplies business and for missing his EMEA revenue target for three consecutive quarters.

In February, HP first reported an unforeseen Q1 collapse in demand for supplies - sales dropped 3 per cent globally to $3.267bn, but the root cause was EMEA, where supplies revenue dropped 9 per cent. Supplies in HP's Q2 and Q3 were also down.

The EMEA team didn't foresee the downturn, but effectively there was a rapid slowdown in sales to end customers from the largest resellers, and this led to an inventory pile-up that was expensive to manage.

A healthy grey market in HP supplies hasn't helped authorised sellers by putting pressure on authorised sellers. Of course, vendors are nearly always responsible for the grey market.

Talking at the Citi's 2019 Global Technology Conference this week, HP CFO Steve Fieler said of the supplies business: "In Q3, our EMEA Supplies was down mid-teens*, so diagnosing the challenge, again it's primarily driven by EMEA and primarily within the commercial channels in EMEA."

He added: "We see a problem, we go after it hard, [which means] going after it operationally. We're driving changes in terms of the leadership".

He said HP faces "increased competition from non-HP originals, clones as an example, who do not invest like we invest in intellectual property or invest in the hardware, [and] are going after our supplies' profitability. So, that's fundamentally the strategic challenge that we're facing."

Lazaridis spent nearly seven years as the EMEA boss at HP Inc. Prior to that he was AMD's corporate veep and GM for Asia Pacific and Japan, and before that he was Asia Pacific veep and GM for sales, marketing, product management and operations at Lenovo.

We have asked Lazaridis and several people on HP's PR team to comment. ®

* Not according to HP's own data here. ®

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