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Users wait to learn new HP chief's strategy

Antony Savvas
Hewlett-Packard has appointed NCR chief executive Mark Hurd as its new CEO and president.

Hurd replaces Carly Fiorina, who left HP in February this year after disagreements with the board over the future strategy of the company.

Hurd has spent the past 25 years at NCR in a variety of general management, operations and sales and marketing positions.

He also spent three years as president and chief operating officer of the company's Teradata division, which is a leading player in enterprise datawarehousing, analytical applications and datawarehousing services.

Patricia Dunn, HP non-executive chairman, said, "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. He demonstrated these skills by turning round NCR, which, although smaller than HP, is a complex organisation with multiple business segments."

Hurd said, "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."

Gartner analysts Martin Reynolds and Andrew Butler said the new HP CEO would "need to make some tough cost-cutting decisions".

They said, "[Users should] watch the company carefully as the new CEO implements cost-cutting plans." The analysts said most HP product strategies were unlikely to change. "But we think it is very likely that some low-profile products and services will disappear," they added.

When Fiorina was removed from HP's board in February, some users of HP's high-end products expressed concern about the future. Colin Butcher, vice-chairman of the HP User Group in the UK, said, "HP would do well to remember its enterprise heritage. It has got all those high-end systems: there are a huge number of users that depend on them."

Gartner had some reassurance for high-end users, "HP must continue to develop its software, maintenance and strategic services businesses, because these operations offer higher margins and allow HP to leverage its hardware business."
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