HP CEO Search: Five Insiders, Five Outsiders and Five Way-Out Choices

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HP CEO Search: Five Insiders, Five Outsiders and Five Way-Out Choices

by Eric Lundquist

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Todd Bradley

Bradley runs HP's $42 billion Personal Systems Group. Formally, Bradley was the boss at Palm, which HP now owns. He also had big roles at GE, FedEx, D&B and Gateway. Bradley is a safe choice to make HP personal again, just like its slogan claims.

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Vyomesh Joshi

Joshi is the executive vice president of HP's $29 billion Imaging and Printing Group. Joshi helped reinvent the printer business enough times to set some sort of reinvention record. However, HP wants to become a services company.

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Ann Livermore

Livermore is the executive vice president of HP's $54 billion Enterprise Business. Livermore knows her stuff and is right where Hurd was heading the company as a services competitor to IBM, but she was passed by the last time HP was looking for a new boss.

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Bill Veghte

Veghte is the executive vice president of HP's $3.6 billion Software and Solutions Business. Veghte is a recent hire from Microsoft. He knows the enterprise software business and, while at Microsoft, Veghte saw what happens when a company tries to be all things to all people. However, Veghte probably does not have enough time in the current HP job.

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Marc Andreesen

Andreesen sits on the HP board of directors. His big idea was Netscape before Microsoft crushed it and then Opsware, which HP bought. He also co-founded Ning, a floundering social network. Andreesen is a Silicon Valley insider and can talk the 2.0 talk, but he has never run anything the size of HP. Right now, Andreesen is better off as an investor and pontificator rather than a spreadsheet-toting boss.

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The Outsiders

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Steve Mills

Steve Mills, the head of Software and Hardware at IBM, was recently promoted at Big Blue. Mills has the business and technology smarts to do the HP job, but probably doesn't want to get into the mix right now.

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Jon Rubinstein

Rubinstein seems to be the favorite among Silicon Valley pundits. HP already is in the final stages of acquiring Palm. Rubinstein ran the iPod group at Apple, and the thinking goes that HP really wants to be like Apple. However, Apple is Apple and HP is HP, and never the twain shall meet.

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Kevin Johnson

Johnson is CEO of Juniper Networks, which is right up the street from HP. Johnson came over from Microsoft and has done a good job at figuring out how to compete with Cisco Systems. After all, it is all about the network.

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Someone from GE

GE was the traditional hunting ground for CEOs. The financial and market discipline of GE was usually sorely lacking at high-tech companies.

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Reed Hastings

Hastings put in time with the Marine Corps, the Peace Corps and Pure Software before founding Netflix. If it is all about becoming a services and support company with everything delivered over the Web eventually, then Reed is the right choice.

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Way Out There

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Spencer F. Katt

The gossip monger is on an extended vacation. Why let amateurs figure out how to fiddle with expense reports when you have the master of creative writing? See Spencer turn a 40-year-old Glenfiddich into an executive briefing. A night at Badda Bing in Vegas becomes a two-day executive retreat. HP doesn't have to fiddle around when it can have a real Rome burner.

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Ebenezer Scrooge

You want a real bean counter who would outsource Palo Alto headquarters to parts unknown and wring his hands in pleasure at the act? Forget the mamby pamby talk about "It hurts me just as much as you."

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A Spiritualist to Channel Bill and Dave

Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, the garage and the HP Way were unique. Why doesn't HP try to put the old act together again?

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal (ret.)

McChrystal needs a job. HP needs a combination of discipline and guerrilla strategy. Enough said.

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IBMs Deep Blue

If the high-tech business is really just chess played on a business board, why not reconstruct the best computer chess player ever built from microprocessors and code?

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