HP integration team leader resigns

Jeff Clarke, the former Compaq Computer chief financial officer who led the integration team overseeing the company's merger with Hewlett-Packard (HP), has resigned effective immediately from HP, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Along with Webb McKinney, who also recently announced his plans to retire, Clarke was in charge of orchestrating the integration of the largest acquisition in the technology industry's history. After the integration, Clarke assumed the role of executive vice president of global operations in charge of HP's supply chain operations.

"HP announced today that Jeff Clarke, Executive Vice President of Global Operations, has elected to resign effective immediately. HP would not comment further other than to say that Clarke's resignation was mutually agreed to and was appropriate," the company said in a statement. An HP spokesman reiterated the company's reluctance to comment on the matter or any possible reasons for Clarke's departure.

A call to Clarke's office at HP's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, was greeted by an automated message informing callers the line had been disconnected, and an e-mail message was returned to sender.

A number of HP executives have left the company in recent weeks, including the former head of Compaq's server division, Mary McDowell, and McKinney. Despite the departures, HP last week posted its best financial results since the merger with Compaq, with all divisions reporting a profit.

Clarke held a variety of positions within the finance departments of both Compaq and Digital Equipment during an 18-year career with the two companies, according to his executive biography on HP's Web site, which was pulled from HP's site Tuesday morning but was accessible using Google's caching function.

He was senior vice president for finance and administration as well as chief financial officer for Compaq before HP announced its intention to purchase the company in September 2001. After the merger closed in May 2002, Clarke and McKinney shared responsibility for integrating HP and Compaq's systems and employees.

In December 2002, Clarke was moved to executive vice president in charge of supply chain and customer operations.

While HP's decision to acquire Compaq had its share of critics, the integration of the two companies has gone about as well as anyone could have expected, and Clarke played a role in that process, said Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata.

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