Q&A: HP's Ann Livermore addresses company's services issues

She also talks up 'green' technology and her potential as a future CEO

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I'd like to get your thoughts on the steady decline in the percentage of women in the IT profession in the U.S. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2006 it was 26.2%, and it's continuing to fall. Do you see this as a problem that warrants some sort of action, and if so, what action is needed? When you look at women in technology, I think the roots go back to the number of girls who are interested in math and science and pursue that as a line of study, starting in elementary school through high school, through college. One of the things I think is important is the encouragement of more females to be interested in math and the sciences.

You see some interesting things today where many people in the software industry and other aspects of technology are coming from different industries, as more and more of the problem becomes how you apply technology for better business outcomes. It's as important to understand the business outcomes as it is to understand the technology. So I think that creates an opportunity to draw more women into the technology realm, as opposed to starting with having to understand the technology and move out. When you start with the customer or business problem and move in, I think that has a positive impact.

I'm sure it's no surprise to you that you're widely seen as a hot potential CEO property. What would you say are the odds that before your career is over, you will have been a CEO? I don't have a career ambition that I have to be CEO to have felt satisfied with what I achieve. I look more at the impact. One of the things that I like to do is be in jobs that have a huge impact. So as I look at it right now, it's hard to imagine a position that has a lot bigger opportunity for impact than the one I have right now.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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