HP chairwoman says CEO search going well


  • Business
  • Thursday, 17 Mar 2005

CHICAGO (AP) - Hewlett-Packard Co.'s interim chairwoman told shareholders Wednesday that the computer and printer maker's search for a successor to Carly Fiorina is on track but declined to discuss details. 

Patricia Dunn, HP's non-executive chairwoman since last month, told shareholders even before formally calling the meeting to order that she would not field questions about the most pressing issue facing the company. 

"I can tell you that the search is well under way, that we're pleased with our progress and that we are where we expected and wanted to be at this juncture,'' Dunn said. 

HP's board ousted Fiorina Feb. 9, frustrated at the lethargic progress on her plan to reinvent HP since arriving in 1999. 

She was criticised for failing to generate expected profit and revenue growth from the $19 billion merger with Compaq Computer Corp. she orchestrated in 2002. 

HP's stock price has been stagnant since the deal. 

Interim CEO Robert Wayman, who remains HP's chief financial officer, also focused on the company's performance Wednesday rather than the succession issue. 

"Although there's been a great deal of media coverage and speculation since we made the announcement, I'm happy to report that we have been as a team very able to continue to execute against our strategy, and we are making good progress in that regard,'' he said. 

Some analysts and experts said they expected Fiorina's ouster to precipitate a broad restructuring.  

The HP board considered breaking up the company on three occasions but rejected the idea each time, Fiorina said at an analyst meeting two months before she was forced out. 

But directors have insisted they will stick with their existing business plan and expect to find a CEO who will buy into the strategy.  

Board members have said they are likely to hire a new chief executive from outside the company. 

HP shares rose 8 cents to close at $20.22 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. 

The stock has been trading at a 52-week range of $16.08 to $23.75. - AP 

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