More top execs quit after HP/Compaq merger

26 November 2003 While still some way short of a full-blown exodus, a growing number of Hewlett-Packard (HP) executives are leaving the company as the dust settles on its $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer.

In the latest development, HP said yesterday that another two senior executives had resigned – Jeff Clarke, vice president of global operations and a leading figure in the largely successful post-deal integration effort, and Suzette Stephens, the vice president of global communications.


Clarke, Compaq’s former chief financial officer (CFO), hinted in an interview with the CNet news service last night that he quit because he was unhappy at not being made CFO of the new HP. “The job I want is not available. Bob [Wayman, HP’s finance chief] is a great CFO,” he said, before adding: “I plan on pursuing CFO and even some CEO opportunities.”

Clarke and Stephens’ departures are only the latest in a series of resignations by top-ranking HP executives who played key roles in the HP/Compaq merger.

Earlier this month, Mary McDowell, senior vice president of strategy and corporate development, left HP to run Nokia’s enterprise business unit.

Webb McKinney, who led the merger integration effort with Clarke, said recently that he plans to retire by the end of 2003. Susan Bowick, the human resources executive who helped blend the two companies’ workforces, announced similar plans earlier this month.

Also this year, Howard Elias left his job as HP’s senior vice president of business management for enterprise systems to run storage giant EMC’s new ventures group. EMC also recently poached two other HP executives, Mark Sorenson and Mark Lewis.

And 12 months ago, Michael Capellas, the former CEO of Compaq, was first out the door. He eventually took the chief executive’s post at WorldCom (now MCI).

What many of those executives have in common is that they came from the Compaq side. But Compaq is still fairly well represented within the top echelons of the new HP. For example, Peter Blackmore, head of HP’s enterprise division, Shane Robison, chief technology officer, and Michael Winkler, the head of marketing, all came from Compaq.

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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