30 March 2005 Computing giant Hewlett-Packard has surprised industry watchers with the choice of former NCR chief executive Mark Hurd as the person to replace Carly Fiorina as its new CEO.
Hurd’s appointment comes two months after HP ousted Fiorina amid growing tension between the former CEO and the management board. In choosing Hurd, HP has opted for someone with a strong reputation in operations – an area regarded as one of Fiorina’s weaknesses – but with little experience of running a technology business the size of HP.
“He’s going from a $6-7 billion company to an $80 billion one; 11 times the revenues and 11 times the politics,” said Bruce Richardson, senior vice president at analyst house AMR Research.
Hurd’s career at computer services company NCR spanned 25 years, and since taking the helm there two years ago he has earned a reputation as a steady and reliable leader. He earned his stripes at NCR with a speedy turnaround of its data warehouse division, NCR Teradata.
“Mark came to our attention because of his strong execution skills, his proven ability to lead top performing teams and his track record in driving shareholder value,” said Patricia Dunn, HP’s non-executive chairman.
She added it was Hurd’s “straightforward style” that had come to the Board’s attention; a marked contrast to the glamour that Fiorina brought to the business.
“HP is one of the world’s great companies, with a proud history of innovation, outstanding talent and enviable positions in many of its product lines and services,” said Hurd. “It’s a great honour to join its leadership team and have the opportunity to build on its success,” he added.
Hurd will start his new job as HP’s president and CEO on April 1st, with a $2 million golden handshake and a further $1.4 million base annual salary.
He will immediately face some tough choices about HP’s future, including whether HP should be broken up. Hurd will also have to decide whether HP continues to pursue a strategy of competing in business and consumer markets.