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HP CEO Carly Fiorina Steps Down

By Clint Boulton

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CFO Robert Wayman will her take her place as interim CEO immediately. Wayman has also been appointed to the board of directors and will retain his duties as CFO.

The board will begin a search for a new CEO immediately, according to a statement. Patricia Dunn, an HP director, has been named non-executive chairman of the board.

The Palo Alto, Calif., systems vendor does not expect to make any other structural or executive changes in the near future, and will announce its first quarter financial results on Feb. 16, after the market closes.

Fiorina alluded to friction with the board.

"While I regret the board and I have differences about how to execute HP's strategy, I respect their decision," Fiorina said in a statement. "HP is a great company and I wish all the people of HP much success in the future."

On a conference call with investors Wednesday, Dunn refused to detail any specific disagreements between the board and Fiorina, praising the CEO for revitalizing the company. Dunn also said the change was not related to a change in strategy, but rather a desire to accelerate that strategy.

"The board reviews this company's performance and leadership performance on an ongoing basis and concluded a change now was in the best interest of the company," Dunn said.

But Dunn implied that Fiorina wasn't as active as she could have been in her role as CEO.

"Looking forward, we think the job is reliant on hands-on execution, and we thought that a new set of capabilities was called for," Dunn said.

Asked if a new CEO must adhere to a specific strategy the HP board has planned, Dunn said the directors are not making any conditions, and that the strategy will be a major topic of discussion with CEO candidates.

Wayman said the new chief must have great execution and strategic skills, adding that the company has no plans to install a COO, which several investors concerned about the company's performance have suggested.

Wayman also added that the move didn't have anything to do with HP's first-quarter earnings, which are expected to be in line with analysts' estimates when they are announced next Wednesday.

IDC analyst Roger Kay said it was clear the move was a push and not a jump.

"If you assume that the reorganization has been successful in that the right pieces are now on the right squares, then a successor chosen for his or her ability to execute will likely help bring to fruition the changes envisioned by Carly and the board," Kay said.

Rumors of executive changes at HP have been floating for weeks, with analysts saying there were fundamental disagreements between Fiorina and the board over how the multi-billion-dollar company should be run.

This article appears courtesy of www.internetnews.com.