One of Hewlett-Packard's most loyal employees in South Africa, and one who has been associated with – and often staunchly defended – the brand for nearly two decades, today announced he is leaving the company.
Thierry Boulanger resigned as Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) country manager on 4 December, but his departure was only announced to staff yesterday afternoon.
Boulanger's first introduction to HP was in 1992 when he joined HiPerformance Systems, the company that represented the brand following its withdrawal from the South African market due to sanctions against the then apartheid government.
He subsequently joined the country's biggest distributor Siltek Distribution Dynamics (SDD) as HP product manager before being formally hired by HP as part of an executive team tasked with re-establishing HP in the local market in 1998. Boulanger fulfilled many roles within HP during his tenure including commercial sales manager for the Africa region and head of its SPO, or channel organisation, before being appointed country manager for IPG.
A rather bland statement issued by the company this morning states: "Thierry Boulanger has decided to pursue other opportunities outside of HP as of January 2010.
Boulanger, who has been with HP RSA now for 11 years, has been the driving force behind many of the Imaging and Printing group successes. He has held several management positions within the African and South African organisation.
"We wish Thierry all the best for the next chapter in his life, and thank him for his contribution to the company, and his division," says Nathan Nayagar, HP SA LES country manager."
Nayagar will temporarily fill Boulanger's position.
While speculation is rife about the reasons behind his resignation – and which company he might be joining in the new year – Boulanger was loyal to the last.
"I left on absolutely brilliant terms," was all he would say in response to his surprise resignation.
And on which company will now lay claim to his talents? A terse "No comment" was all we could elicit.
We do know that it will be a competitor. But then again, isn't everyone a competitor against the worlds largest IT company?