Sunday, April 16, 2006

HP Under Hurd Shows New Promise

First, let me apologize for incorrectly dating the announcement of Coca Cola's new board compensation policies. I was off by a week, as I read an older Wall Street Journal while catching up on back issues. Never the less, my post concerning this topic did precede my becoming aware of the change.

In another article from the WSJ pages of recent weeks, I read with great interest, and admiration, how Mark Hurd, late of NCR, now CEO at HP, is revamping the sales force.

What was of particular interest to me is the depth of focus Hurd is reported to have given to an issue that, allegedly, Carly Fiorina acknowledged, and failed to solve, on her multi-year watch at the helm of the ailing tech firm. Kudos to Hurd for quickly assessing the situation, diagnosing the problem, and, most importantly, ramming home changes in the sales organization to both trim unproductive middle-layers, and realign the function with the way HP markets to its customers.

This is the kind of CEO performance which, when effective, can be worth whatever price the shareholders pay for it. While I do not own HP, I genuinely hope Hurd successfully restores it to a high-revenue growth path, with consistently superior total returns following not far behind.

It gives me great satisfaction to see a company have the courage to oust an ineffective CEO, hire a new one, and have done a good job recruiting a new CEO who will actually fix the company's problems, rather than merely enjoy his lucrative new compensation package.

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