September 7, 2005

HP Chief Hurd Sees ‘Lot of Work’ to Change Company

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- Less than six months after taking over at Hewlett-Packard Co., Chief Executive Mark Hurd on Wednesday said there's still "a lot of work to do."

"We've got some looseness in our structures and our processes," Hurd, who took over after the company's board ousted former CEO Carly Fiorina, told investors at a meeting in New York. "We have to get away from managing and reporting to leading and driving."

Hewlett-Packard managers need to take more responsibility for their business areas, Hurd said. In the past, they've turned to the chief executive to resolve conflicts, he said. "We have got to get accountability and responsibility lower down in the organization," he added.

Hurd, 48, was appointed chief executive April 1 after the company pushed out Fiorina, whose $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer never produced the results she promised.

HP, the world's No. 2 computer maker, is shedding 14,500 jobs to cut annual costs by $1.9 billion and boost profits.

Fiorina left in February after the board disagreed with her "execution" of HP's strategy, directors said at the time.

HP is taking a "disciplined" approach to acquisitions, Hurd said, but he added that investors should expect the company's strategy to be "kind of steady as she goes."

The company's shares have added 33 percent in the past six months. Hurd, the former chief executive of NCR Corp. (NCR.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said he sees "a long haul to take the company where we want it."

Stock in HP was trading 26 cents higher at $27.51 late in the session on the New York Stock Exchange.

"From a learning-curve perspective, I feel pretty good," he added.


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