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Update: HP board ousts Fiorina

Disagreements with the company's board over strategy were behind the move

By Stacy Cowley and Laura Rohde
February 9, 2005 12:00 PM ET

IDG News Service - Hewlett-Packard Co. announced today that its board of directors has dismissed Carly Fiorina as the company's chairman and CEO.
Fiorina, who has been HP's CEO for six years, is to be replaced on an interim basis by the company's chief financial officer, Robert P. Wayman, HP said in a statement. Wayman, who has been with HP for 36 years, will also continue to serve as CFO.
HP has already begun its search for a new CEO.

The company also named Patricia Dunn as its nonexecutive chairman of the board. Dunn has been an HP director since 1998.

HP said it doesn't plan to make any additional structural changes or executive leadership changes for the time being.

"Carly Fiorina came to HP to revitalize and reinvigorate the company," Dunn said in a telephone news conference. "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."

A company statement indicated that Fiorina's departure stems from disagreements on strategy.

"While I regret the board and I have differences about how to execute HP's strategy, I respect their decision," Fiorina said in the statement.

Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard
Carly Fiorina, former chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard
According to Dunn, the board's decision to replace its CEO didn't signal a change of strategy, but rather a desire to accelerate its plans. Wayman, who was also made a member of the HP board today, added that no changes in the company's product portfolio are expected.

Dunn declined to give specific reasons for Fiorina's dismissal. "We thought a new set of abilities was called for," Dunn said. "We are looking to accelerate the growth of the company, and we think that requires hands-on execution."

Last month, HP denied published reports that said the board of directors was considering a plan to redistribute some of Fiorina's day-to-day responsibilities to other HP executives, due in part to the board's displeasure with the company's uneven performance.

The board had been deliberating on company performance and CEO performance for "quite some time," said Dunn. "The timing of the announcement was due to the fact that a decision was reached."

Both Dunn and Wayman insisted the HP board does not have a strict set of conditions for the CEO candidates it will interview. "Looking for someone who will fit in the culture is part of it, but that doesn't mean that you want a leader that doesn't challenge that culture," Wayman said.

Fiorina survived a bruising
Reprinted with permission from IDG.net. Story copyright 2014 International Data Group. All rights reserved.
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