What's Next for H-P After CEO Ouster

The risks ahead

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Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd's recent dismissal raised a number of questions about his sudden and surprising departure. However, looking forward, what's next for H-P? Who will succeed Hurd as CEO and what will it mean for the company?

  • Shares Plummet on Wall Street  The Dow Jones Newswire's George Stahl reports, "shares Monday fell as much as 8.4% from its close Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, as Wall Street revalues the information technology giant after the surprising departure of Chief Executive Mark Hurd. The sudden void of an executive perceived as bringing a period of consistency and outperformance to the Palo Alto, Calif., company rattled Wall Street, as H-P shares fell to a 52-week low in after-hours trading Friday and the company lost as much as $9 billion in market cap Monday. While H-P officials, including temporary CEO Cathie Lesjak, are trying to reassure investors and customers that the company will operate normally during the transition, analysts said the uncertainty makes the company worth less in the near term."
  • HP Struggling Without Succession Plan  The Wall Street Journal's Pui-Wing Tam, Joann Lublin, and Ben Worthen write, "[Hurd's] unexpected departure reopens questions about H-P's strategy and succession that had largely been absent over the past few years. ... Hurd has no clear successor. And he had brought a period of consistency and outperformance to H-P that the company lacked under his predecessor, Carly Fiorina. H-P likely will fill its vacant CEO spot with an outside high-tech veteran, predicted Seth O. Harris, head of the technology practice for recruiters Cook Associates in Burlington, Mass."
  • Will Company Rediscover 'The HP Way'?  MarketWatch's Benjamin Pimentel writes, "Hurd stepped down in disgrace, capping a tumultuous decade for the iconic Silicon Valley business that saw Hewlett-Packard morph into a powerful global behemoth, but one that seems to get caught in one embarrassing scandal after another. ... Along with the waves of layoffs over the past decade, these leadership crises underscored the transformation of a business that, until the late 1990s, was known for nurturing a sincere and collegial culture, referred to simply as the 'H-P way.' ... in light of the turmoil the company has gone through, it may be time for a sort of cultural revival."
  • Risk of Executive Infighting  Forbes' Quentin Hardy warns that HP has a number of very complicated ongoing projects that will require a high level of focus. "The key question for the company is, Can they execute together without Hurd? Can they manage the thousands of details in making this work, and stay aligned?" But the risk of turmoil is high. "For starts, several members of HP’s executive council will consider themselves the top candidate to run HP, and all but one – or, if an outsider is recruited, every one of those HP execs – will be disappointed. Executive recruiters will be calling HP, trying to pull people out during the turmoil."
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