CEO’s First Year Stabilizes HP

March 29, 2006


By Nicole C. Wong
San Jose Mercury News

Six months after Mark Hurd became chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, he told 900 business partners meeting at the Venetian in Las Vegas that he wasn’t interested in “making a big announcement every 15 minutes.”

It was an abrupt change from the flamboyant marketing style of his predecessor, Carly Fiorina. “I want HP to be a less-than-exciting company,” Hurd told the audience at HP’s Global Partner Summit in September. “I want us to be known not for big theatrical statements and actions, but for delighting our customers, delighting our partners, enriching our shareholders and providing employees with a great place to work … year after year, with incredibly boring regularity.”

Today is the first anniversary of the hiring of Hurd to head HP after the surprise ouster of Fiorina. So far, being boring seems to have paid off: HP’s stock has risen 47 percent since he started.

Observers say Hurd, 49, has brought stability to Silicon Valley’s legendary computer and printer giant after several years of turmoil — the tech downturn and the tumultuous merger with Compaq Computer.

During his inaugural year, Hurd has established himself as a low-profile leader who has coaxed profitability out of every business segment, largely by slashing expenses. While employees and analysts are enthused about his accomplishments so far, many wonder whether he can conquer the next big challenge: increasing revenue.

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