HP names Carly Fiorina as CEO, president

Hewlett Paclard yesterday announced that Carleton (Carly) Fiorina was appointed to the role of president and chief executive officer. She will also join the HP board, the company said.

The appointment ends an almost five-month search to replace the 58-year old Lew Platt, who announced his intention to retire as HP's CEO amid a complete restructuring of the company.

"Carly was our first choice and the only candidate presented to the board," Lew Platt said yesterday in a teleconference, which took place 36 hours after the 44-year old Fiorina had started at Hewlett-Packard.

The computer and imaging-related parts of HP, of which Fiorina now takes charge, had revenue of $US39.5 billion in the 1998 fiscal year. According to plans revealed in March, HP's test and measurement business will be spun off into a separate company.

Fiorina most recently served two years as president of Lucent Technologies' Global Service Provider Business, which has annual revenue of more than $US20 billion. She also spearheaded the planning and execution of Lucent's 1996 initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T. Altogether Fiorina has nearly 20 years experience in the telecommunications business working at Lucent and AT&T, and she was recently named by Fortune magazine as the most powerful woman in American business.

The new CEO will spend her first weeks getting to know the HP operations, employees and customers, "getting my arms around all the challenges", Fiorina said, adding that she therefore will refrain for the time being from making pronouncements about any major changes, possible spin-offs and acquisitions.

However, Fiorina stressed the need for the company to reinvent itself. She said HP has clearly not been focused enough on speed. HP has "a great soul", she said, but also needs to reinvent itself when it comes to a sense of speed, sense of urgency and a competitive spirit - "the willingness to win".

She aims to make HP a major player in "the second chapter of the Internet". According to Fiorina, HP is already much deeper into Internet business than is perceived by those outside the company, and needs to raise awareness of that.

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