By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2005-04-06 Print this article Print

For his part, Hurd, in conference calls with reporters and analysts, said he will spend the next few months meeting with employees, customers and partners to learn as much as possible about HP before making any major decisions about the companys direction. He also deflected questions about ongoing calls by financial analysts to spin off certain business segments. However, he did say that HPs broad product portfolio was one of its strengths and that he interpreted the idea of breaking up the company as a "surrogate" for improving performance.

"When I look at HP, I see a company that is fundamentally sound," Hurd said. "But its also clear the company is not performing to its potential. Now, Im not here to pass judgment on the past few years. In fact, Im not concerned at all about the past. The initial focus will be on improving operations, creating demand for our technology and driving profitable growth."

Click here to read more about how Hurd deflected analysts questions about whether hell break up the company.
Customers are hoping that Hurds appointment will bring stability to a company thats had more than its share of drama over the past few years. For David Nardi, senior systems administrator at The Yankee Candle Company Inc., in South Deerfield, Mass., that means stemming the flow of job cuts that has resulted in the wrong people working on the wrong products.

"Right now, you get nonenterprise people working on enterprise systems," Nardi said. "You might be running [Unix] systems and get Compaq guys working on them who only really know [Intel Corp.-based] ProLiants. ... Maybe he can get the company going in the right direction."

Bob Combs isnt so sure. A program manager for a large software company and a longtime HP user, Combs said he had hoped for an executive with experience in the same part of the industry where HP plays, and he was skeptical of Hurds performance at NCR.

"He did a lot to boost NCRs bottom line, but I didnt really see how he really helped the customer, and thats what I think HP will have to do," Combs said.

However, Combs said he knows little about Hurd beyond what hes read.

"I dont want to unfairly judge him," Combs said. "He could be the right guy. I dont know. ... Theres nothing there to get me overjoyed at the announcement, but it didnt make me cry, either. I just dont know. Hes an unknown."

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