Fiorina resigns HP CEO post

Hewlett-Packard, for the time being, is a ship without a captain.

The news broke this morning that Carly Fiorina resigned her post as HP's CEO and chairman.

Fiorina's move caught industry observers off guard, but was not a complete surprise, as stories have circulated about HP's board considering splitting up some of her day-to-day responsibilities among other HP executives.

She commented for a prepared statement: "While I regret the board and I have differences about how to execute HP's strategy, I respect their decision."

The company's current chief financial officer, Robert Wayman, is taking over as interim CEO, while HP director Patricia Dunn will serve as non-executive chairman.

The looming question, of course, is how this will impact the technical strategy Fiorina put in place. During her reign, HP pulled off its controversial acquisition of Compaq Computer, took up its Adaptive Enterprise strategy, and aimed to emulate IBM's successful services arm, among other things.

HP's board hinted at its plans to continue that strategy in the statement:

"Carly Fiorina came to HP to revitalize and reinvigorate the company. She had a strategic vision and put in place a plan that has given HP the capabilities to compete and win. We thank Carly for her significant leadership over the past six years as we look forward to accelerating execution of the company's strategy," said Dunn, on behalf of the board.

That crafted comment makes it sound as if the board wants to keep Fiorina's strategy, but to makes things happen more quickly than the board feels they have been up until now. Such words could be the actual plan, or they could be marketing speak to keep enterprises, customers, shareholders and investors as calm as possible during this storm.

If continuing Fiorina's plans is indeed the case, though, HP had better find a technical-minded visionary to grab hold of that CEO helm soon.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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