Lucent exec becomes first outsider to lead HP; retired
VP Dick Hackborn to become board chairman at her request
took a dramatic step to convince investors and analysts that it is
remaking itself, naming 44-year-old Carly Fiorina as company
president and CEO as of July 17.
The new CEO was scheduled to make her first appearance
before the HP 3000 customer base at the HP World conference on Aug.
17, according to conference organizer Interex. Fiorina was to be
introduced by outgoing CEO Lew Platt at the show, just before the
keynote speech from HP executive Ann Livermore.
Fiorina edged out insider candidate
Livermore for the job at the end of the search process, according to
HP sources. Livermore remains CEO and President of HPs
Enterprise Computing Solutions business, the group which includes the
HP 3000 division (CSY). The two women were the finalists in the
four-month search for HPs sixth corporate CEO, and HP said its
board of directors decision was unanimous.
She is quite simply the ideal candidate to leverage
HPs core strengths in the rapidly changing information systems
industry and to lead this great company well into the new
millennium, said board member Sam Ginn, who led the search
The change in leadership is an opportunity for the HP 3000
market, according to Rene Woc, CEO at 3000 channel partner Adager.
A small directive can make a big difference, and go
a long way, said Woc, whose company has been offering HP 3000
software exclusively for more than two decades. What can Carly
Fiorina do that Lew Platt couldnt have done? Theres
something about being a new officer and at the same time having a
clear directive. For those in [HP] who have been complacent or
evolving slowly, her appointment sends a message about HPs
presence in e-commerce.
Even though there are initiatives and background
work that have been done in e-commerce, theres some energy that
a new CEO brings, he said. We should strive to make sure
that energy gets properly channeled to the 3000 platform.
HPs board was pushing for the companys first
outside CEO to lead the company in its e-services initiative. Heading
up AT&T spinoff Lucents $20 billion Global Service Provider
division, Fiorina was named Americas Most Powerful
Businesswoman last year by Fortune magazine. Oprah Winfrey was second
on the Fortune list, while HP executive Carolyn Ticknor was ranked
22nd. Livermore was not on the list, having only been appointed to
lead the Enterprise Computing Solutions business in October.
Livermore was quoted in a San Jose Mercury News report as
saying she has no current plans to seek a CEO post in another
company. My intent is to stay, she said. I think
[Fiorina] is going to be a great leader for our company.
After Fiorina met with retired HP executive and board
member Dick Hackborn during HPs search for a successor to CEO
Lew Platt, Fiorina found Hackborn squarely in her corner.
Fiorina returned the support almost immediately on being
named CEO. She asked Hackborn to take the chairman of the board role
that Platt will be vacating at years end, a position that she
reported she needed to persuade Hackborn to accept. Hackborn is also
a board member at Microsoft.
I am extremely pleased that Dick is willing to take
on expanded responsibilities at this important juncture in HPs
history, Fiorina said. His long and deep experience in
all aspects of HPs business and his strong relationships
throughout the company and the computing industry will be
invaluable to me and HP.
Hackborn takes the head seat on the HP board in a
non-executive role, because of his status as a retired HP VP. But the
move is more evidence that Hackborns position in the company is
as keeper of the HP Way and kingmaker. Hackborn was reportedly
offered the HP CEO position at the last transition, when CEO John
Young was retiring in 1992. But as head of HPs printer
business, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, Hackborn was loath to
relocate to the Bay Area to accept the CEOs post.
Rick Belluzzo, the last HP executive who was in line to
succeed Platt, was a protege of Hackborns in that HP printer
business. Once Hackborn retired from HP in 1993 and remained on the
HP board, Beluzzo moved up to a post where he controlled nearly all
of HPs computing business essentially the same position
Fiorina adopted. Beluzzo left HP in 1998 to become CEO of Silicon
Hackborn had another protege on the HP insider list of
candidates, Carolyn Ticknor, CEO of HPs LaserJet Imaging
Systems business. Livermore, Ticknor, Duane Zitzner, and Antonio
Perez the four CEOs of HPs computing and imaging
businesses all report to Fiorina.
The new HP CEO arrives with a varied educational
background, but almost all of her business experience has been with
AT&T. Fiorina has an undergraduate degree in medieval history, an
MBA from the University of Maryland and a master of science degree
from MITs Sloan School. In nearly 20 years at AT&T, she
spearheaded Lucents 1996 initial public offering and subsequent
spin-off from AT&T, which HP characterized as one of the
largest and most successful IPOs ever, raising $3 billion.
Fiorina began her AT&T career as an account executive
selling long distance service. She had started down the path in law,
her fathers profession. But she quit UCLAs law school,
sold real estate in Palo Alto and taught English overseas before
earning her MBA in 1980. At Lucent, she held top posts in regional
sales, strategy, global marketing and market development.
Leaving Lucent was a very difficult decision, but
this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, said Fiorina.
Hewlett-Packard is a company of great accomplishment and even
greater potential. HP has a proud history, a powerful brand, superb
technology, talented employees, strong partner and customer
relationships, and an innovative new e-services strategy. I am
delighted and deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead one of
the most respected companies in the world and I will strive to
strike the right balance between reinforcing HPs values and
working to reinvent its businesses.
Platt will retire from his 33-year career at HP at
years end, overseeing the spinoff of HPs instrument
business until that time. Although several exceptional HP
executives were strong CEO candidates, now is the right time for
fresh leadership, Platt said in a statement. With Carly
and the strong team already in place, I am convinced HP is in
extremely capable hands as it prepares to move into the next phase of
Platt oversaw the biggest growth in HPs history in
his seven years as CEO, as revenues ballooned 187 percent to $47.1
billion, while its earnings grew 436 percent over the same period. He
became chairman of the HP board in 1993, when co-founder David