March 30, 2005 in Business

NCR veteran named to succeed Fiorina at HP

Associated Press
 

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Hewlett-Packard Co. named Mark Hurd, a low-key longtime NCR Corp. executive, on Tuesday to replace the ousted Carly Fiorina as president and CEO. HP shares rose more than 10 percent.

Hurd, 48, resigned Tuesday as president and chief executive of NCR and takes charge at HP on April 1. Hurd joined Dayton, Ohio-based NCR, a computer services company perhaps best known for its ATM machines, in 1980 and quietly spearheaded an ambitious turnaround when he became CEO in March 2003.

Hurd — the antithesis of the celebrity CEO — is a sharp contrast to Fiorina. She was one of the country’s most powerful female executives, a media-savvy marketing specialist who was fired for not slashing costs or boosting profit quickly after HP’s merger with Compaq Computer Corp. in 2002.

Hurd isn’t well known on Wall Street or in the financial media but enjoys a solid a reputation among business experts as a relentless cost-cutter familiar with nearly every facet of management.

Although his selection wasn’t announced until after the market closed, rumors of the choice drove HP shares up $1.99, or 10 percent, to close at $21.78 on the New York Stock Exchange.

HP director Patricial C. Dunn, who headed the executive search committee, said Hurd stood out because he successfully transformed NCR into a small but formidable consulting powerhouse.

Dunn said Hurd’s no-nonsense style appealed to the board. While Fiorina frequently wooed Wall Street investors and lunched with politicians in Washington, D.C., Hurd is likely to spend long hours on HP’s Palo Alto campus and at company offices worldwide.

“Mark is an operator and likes to roll up his sleeves and work with his team and his customers and spend time with employees,” Dunn said in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. “To the extent he feels it’s appropriate to be visible, he will be — but he focuses on getting the job done.”

Business experts praised the decision and said Hurd’s appointment marks a break with the style and strategies of Fiorina, who was loathed by many HP employees as a management expert devoid of engineering expertise.

NCR, located far from Silicon Valley’s venture capitalists and technology power brokers, operates data warehouses that store countless bits of information from corporate customers. The company also sells “relationship management” software that helps companies keep track of customers and their orders.

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