By Dan Primack
March 26, 2013

FORTUNE — Earlier today I posed six questions about the Dell (DELL) situation. Among them was the current state of relations between Michael Dell and his former M&A chief Dave Johnson, who in January joined The Blackstone Group (BX).

Some folks say that the two remain tight, and that Johnson may be the only private equity investor alive who could convince Michael Dell to switch “sides.” Others insist that his parting was acrimonious, and that Johnson’s involvement will only serve to strengthen Michael Dell’s resolve to buy his company alongside Silver Lake Partners. And there also are stories that fall somewhere in between.

Now Fortune has obtained a confidential December memo sent by Michael Dell to company employees about Johnson’s departure. It is effusive in its praise and suggests that “our friendship and collaboration will continue.”

To be sure, these sorts of letters are almost positive — even if the writer would rather cut off his own thumb rather than work another day with the subject. But this is the most recent document we have in which either Dell or Johnson discuss each other, so I figured it was worth sharing (although it should be read with a skeptical eye).

The full memo is below:

Dave Johnson departure
To: Global Dell Team
Dell confidential — For internal use only

In 2009, we outlined a strategy to become a leading end-to-end solutions provider; one that offers a unique and differentiated value proposition to growing organizations. Shortly after outlining this plan, Dave Johnson joined Dell to lead our Strategy Organization.
Dave has been instrumental in helping to bring our strategic vision to life. Dave brought more than three decades’ experience to his role at Dell and put every bit of his vast experience to work on our behalf. Under his leadership we invested approximately $10B in more than 20 acquisitions, established Dell as “best in class” at integrating acquired technology firms, and built a sustainable set of tools and processes to grow new capabilities within Dell. The performance of our acquisitions is unmatched in our industry and that’s largely a testament to Dave’s leadership.

Dave also has been a vital contributor to our differentiated strategy, and defining Dell’s role in helping customers migrate to an integrated environment that leverages Dell’s end-to-end capabilities. With this strong and sustainable foundation in place, Dave has decided to leave Dell for a senior position at Blackstone, a global investment and advisory firm.

Dave’s intellect and desire to win have inspired me and his colleagues across the ELT. He leaves a durable legacy behind, and our friendship and collaboration will continue. He will remain a close advisor and consultant to me and Dell. I am confident that we will continue to gain momentum against our strategy, and we will do so stronger for Dave’s contributions.

With Dave’s departure, Chris Kleiman will assume leadership of the Corporate Development organization, reporting to Brian Gladden. Prakash Jothee will lead the Corporate Strategy team, and also report to Brian.

Please join me in thanking Dave for his contributions and the legacy he leaves behind at Dell. We are a different company than we were four years ago, and Dave helped shape the enterprise solutions provider we are today.

A Dell spokesman confirmed the memo’s authenticity.


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