This Week in Imaging: New HP CEO Lores Must Tackle Supplies-Revenue Problem

The month of August is usually a particularly a slow time in the office-imaging industry, as it probably is everywhere else. This August though has been anything but, with the resignation of HP President and CEO Dion Weisler, and an intensifying U.S.-China trade war.

Weisler, who is leaving HP because of family health matters, will be replaced by Enrique Lores, an HP veteran who’s been leading HP’s printer group.

Whereas Weisler brought a strong PC background to HP – he worked at PC makers Acer and Lenovo, and is noteworthy for scoring a huge PC deal in India at one point – Lores brings a strong printer background, most recently and currently serving as president of HP Inc.’s Imaging, Printing and Solutions group. Lores – who will take the helm at HP on November 1, 2019, has been leading HP’s printer since 2015, during which time he guided HP through two key printer-group milestones: HP’s acquisition of Samsung’s printer business and its expanded partnership with Xerox.

One thing we can probably expect at Lores’ tenure is HP’s continuing work to shore up declining printer-supplies revenue, an Achilles Heel that continues to hurt the printer group’s revenue. In a conference call last week, Lores decried the third-parties who continue to profit from HP’s installed printer base with third-party toner and ink cartridges “without having to have a significant investment … necessary to create a hardware installed base.” That likely means HP and OEM partner Canon, from which HP sources much of its laser-based hardware and supplies, will continue to aggressively seek to drive out these third parties. To date, for instance, Canon states that it’s had over 1,000 third-party toner cartridges removed from the Amazon ecommerce site. At the same time, HP CEO Weisler noted that HP will continue to promote contractual – MPS and the HP Instant Ink – which also lock-out third-party competition. However, Lores conceded that it may be some time for HP supplies revenue – traditionally the company’s bread and butter – to see growth. In the meantime, the company’s PC business continues to shore up lower printer-group revenues.

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