Working as Meg Whitman's chief of staff was "the chance of a lifetime", new Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) channel boss Paul Hunter has told CRN.
Hunter was recently appointed HPE's head of worldwide partner sales, following a three-year spell as Meg Whitman's chief of staff.
His time in the role saw him work closely with Whitman (pictured) in a position that was akin to a leadership apprenticeship, he explained.
Hunter has spent 22 years at HPE and its predecessor Hewlett Packard, having previously been a channel sales director and general manager of HP's PC and printers divisions in the UK.
While working as Whitman's chief of staff, Hunter said he was able to gain a unique insight into how HPE is run at the highest level.
"It's the chance of a lifetime from a professional standpoint," he said. "In essence I got to watch Meg work - not just Meg but the senior leadership of the company - for three years. I was a fly on the wall.
"My main objective around taking the role was to find out how the organisation is run. You have a view of how you think it's run as a country leader. At the time I was running the PPS (printing and personal systems) business which was about three per cent of the company's revenue, and that's a big part of the company's performance, but it's very different from understanding how the company actually works."
Hunter said the very biggest decisions at HPE are not made in a manner that people would perhaps expect, with the leadership team preferring fast and precise decisions, rather than long periods of discussion.
"I'm not sure how I thought these decisions were made, but how you think they're made and how they're actually made are two different things," he explained. "It's remarkable to see how decisive the leadership team are when it comes to these big decisions.
"They're not long, drawn-out discussions that people prevaricate over - they're decisive, well thought through, intensive periods.
"[The role] has completely over-delivered on learning how the corporation is run and what is involved. Obviously I worked with one of the foremost CEOs in the world and that is rare opportunity."
Last week Whitman announced that she would be stepping down as HPE CEO, in a move that perhaps caught many off guard after she ruled out leaving the vendor when linked with the then-vacant Uber CEO role in September.
Whitman will however bring her tenure to a close in February, with current president Antonio Neri filling her position.
Her spell at the top has seen her oversee the largest corporate break-up of all time, with Hewlett Packard splitting into two entities and the software and services divisions spinning out into separate organisations.
Hunter said the financials behind the newly divorced organisations only goes so far in reflecting the progress that the HP family has made under Whitman.
"If you just looked at the [HPE] financial results you'd say that Meg has done a really outstanding job, but from the inside what she has done in improving the health of the company is even better than [the story] told by the numbers," Hunter said.
"The company that she joined in 2011 [is unrecognisable from] the company that she is going to leave in 2018. The company that has been on its own for longest, the HPI business, if you look at their results they're doing very, very well."
Speaking about Whitman personally, Hunter said his time working closely with her allowed him to see how dedicated she is to improving HPE as an organisation.
"One of the things you also get an insight into when you're chief of staff for her is how committed and dedicated she is to the health of the company," he said.
"She eats, sleeps and thinks how she can improve the company every second of the day and that never goes off. We're feeling the benefits and rewards of that.
"She's leaving the company at a time when it's in a much healthier position than when she started and it feels like the right time for a new leader to start, with us having completed the divestures, and she's fulfilling her promise to promote from within."
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