The short list for HP's next CEO could be long

With Hurd, HP's board picked an outsider. Will it do so again?

Analysts are developing a short list of possible candidates to replace former Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd, who resigned Friday. But it's worth noting that Hurd's name didn't come up often, if at all, as a contender in 2005, when he was tapped for the HP job.

At the time, he was a veteran of NCR Corp., where he had served as its CEO and president.

During that search, The Wall Street Journal said executive recruiters envisioned the ideal successor to be "a star CEO at a company with at least $40 billion in annual sales." NCR had revenue totaling just over $6 billon, making Hurd something of a surprise choice.

With Hurd now out -- he resigned after HP's board found fault with his relationship with a contractor and related expense reports filings, the succession guessing game is in full swing. Analysts are brushing off their 2005 lists and some familiar names are emerging as hot prospects.

Among those mentioned, once again, is Michael Capellas, the former CEO of Compaq, and Joseph Tucci, the CEO of EMC. The names of executives at IBM, Microsoft and Oracle are also being bandied about.

HP executives who were likely considered in 2005 and are seen as contenders now include Ann Livermore, the executive vice president of the company's enterprise business, and Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice president of HP's imaging and printing group. New to the list is Todd Bradley, a former Palm CEO and president who is now executive vice president of HP's personal systems group.

An easier task, perhaps, than trying to guess names is to determine what type of management style HP's board will want in its next CEO.

Chuck House, an HP veteran who now heads Stanford University's Media X, was especially critical of Hurd's management style in his blog. He outlined in an e-mail what he hopes the board will look for in Hurd's replacement. (Media X is affiliated with the H-STAR Institute (Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute) at Stanford, and works with industry and academics to study the impact of information and technology on society.)

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