Pure Storage CEO Shares His Battle With COVID-19 And His Plans To Reopen The Company

Pure Storage, a provider of enterprise data flash storage solutions, has released its Q1 financial results. The Mountain View, California-based company reported impressive revenue, growing 12% year-over-year, with subscription services revenue growing 37% year-over-year. Shares rose almost 5% during Friday's (May 29) trading session.

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"We are extremely proud of this quarter's solid results and growth, especially during the current global crisis," said Charles Giancarlo, Chairman and CEO. "The entire company adapted quickly and delivered the technology and services that our customers needed to keep their organizations up and running. Pure continues to deliver on the Modern Data Experience to enable customers to transform their storage operations to be simple, reliable, fast, and flexible."

The announcement coincided with Giancarlo opening up about his experience contracting COVID-19. In March, Pure Storage revealed in an annual report that the executive had caught the virus, though almost no one seemed to notice.

"There was one person that called me afterward," Giancarlo told CNBC.

Giancarlo suspects he caught the disease while traveling through Spain in March, after which he flew to London, and finally California, where he had friends over for dinner. "I decided to pretty much isolate myself following protocol, not touching anybody, staying 6 feet apart," he said.

After waking up with a fever, Giancarlo worried he had contracted the virus and isolated himself further. It was also the day officials began to implement stay-at-home mandates. Soon after, he tested positive for COVID-19.

Now that the CEO has recovered, he is looking forward to reopening Pure Storage. The company has a slow and cautious plan, with layout changes, including a reduction in the number of employees working in-office.

Giancarlo revealed in a call with analysts that members of the firm's sales staff have been more productive since they've reduced travel time for meetings. In fact, the company has continued to thrive despite the impact of the global health crisis. "What our strategy has been, and it's proven to be very successful, is we're able to provide that to our customers whether it's on their own premises or in the cloud on one of the hyperscalers. If it's on their own premises, yes, we ship hardware, but that hardware now is fully automated and operates in many ways a cloud-orchestrated service. And we do it in the cloud as well," he told CRN.

The company also proactively assisted its employees with their transition into remote working. Pure Storage offered workers the financial means to purchase equipment that allowed them to work from home, and also held "parent panels," while providing medical and mental health support.

A former Cisco executive, Giancarlo replaced Scott Dietzen as Pure Storage's CEO in 2017, two years after the company's debut on the New York Stock Exchange. The IT pioneer still hasn't turned a profit since Giancarlo joined, though revenue has grown as subscription services have become an integral part of the business.