Robert (Bob) Napier, executive vice president and chief information officer of Hewlett-Packard, died on Monday after a battle with cancer, aged 56.
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Before HP's merger with Compaq Computer, Napier was CIO at Compaq, where he also had global responsibility for extending the company's electronic commerce activities.
HP employees were informed of Napier's death on Tuesday in an e-mail from chairman and chief executive officer Carly Fiorina.
"I have had the privilege of knowing Bob for many years, both at Lucent Technologies and HP. Bob was one of those rare individuals who could both challenge and support, who was both tough and compassionate. He made us perform, he made us think, he made us laugh. I will miss him greatly, as I know we all will," she wrote.
Napier had also held CIO positions at Lucent Technologies, AT&T's Global Business Communications Systems unit, and Lockheed Information Management Services. He began his technology career while serving in the US Navy Submarine Service.
Napier is survived by his wife, Cheryl, daughter Kelly and sons Kevin and Brian.
Vallerie Parrish-Porter, information officer at HP's Personal Systems Group, will continue in her role as acting CIO.
Peter Sayer writes for IDG News Service