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NetApp Blows Past Estimates, Announces New CEO

SUNNYVALE, Calif. -- Storage company NetApp (NTAP) blew past analysts' estimates in its first-quarter results Wednesday, and, in a surprise move, announced that it has swapped out its CEO.

NetApp posted first-quarter revenue of $838 million, down 4% on the same period last year, but well above analysts' estimate of $828.3 million.

Excluding items, NetApp earned 22 cents a share on net income of $76 million, flat compared to the prior year's quarter, but comfortably beating analysts' estimate of 20 cents a share.

Tech: M&A Chatter

The company also announced that its COO Tom Georgens has taken the company's reins from Dan Warmenhoven, who now becomes NetApp executive chairman. In a statement, the firm described the move as a "planned transition" and explained that Warmenhoven will now build and expand NetApp's links with service providers and other technology partners.

"I have had a long-time goal to transition out of the CEO role before I turn 60, which is about five quarters from now," said Warmenhoven, during a conference call after market close. "Tom is absolutely the right person to succeed me."

NetApp, which recently lost out to rival EMC (EMC) in the battle to acquire Data Domain (DDUP), is nonetheless seen as one of tech's rising stars.

"Given the economic backdrop, NetApp performed well in the first quarter," said Georgens, in a statement released after market close. "With year-over-year growth roughly flat on a constant currency basis, our revenue performance clearly outpaced the storage industry at large."

Including items, NetApp grew its first-quarter profit, earning 15 cents a share on net income of $52 million, up from 10 cents a share and $35 million in the prior year's quarter.

On a non-GAAP basis, NetApp expects second-quarter gross margins between 62.5% and 63%. The storage maker did not, however, provide second-quarter revenue guidance, citing lake of macroeconomic visibility.

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