Chief executive officer, Hewlett-Packard
Chief Executive Officer Carleton "Carly" Fiorina joined Hewlett-Packard in 1999. Since the announcement of her company's intentions to buy Compaq Computer, it's been an uphill battle with employees, board members and shareholders. Fiorina believes that the merger could make HP stronger and able to offer a broader array of products and services. Critics, however, have characterized the plan as an unwise gamble, one that could mire both companies in paperwork while more nimble competitors sprint ahead. If the merger fails, Fiorina will most likely resign. If it succeeds, Fiorina will certainly have her work cut out for her.
Chief executive officer, Compaq Computer
In Fiorina's shadow for the past few months, Compaq CEO Michael Capellas has been a cheerleader of the merger, albeit a far less vocal one. The executive was promoted to Compaq's top spot in 1999 subsequent to serving on a CEO board after the ouster of former CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. Pricing pressures, slowing PC sales and a sour economy have battered both Compaq and HP, leading to the announcement of the companies' intention to merge in September. Capellas has said that recent cost-cutting moves would allow the PC company to survive--whether or not the deal is successful.
Board member, Hewlett-Packard
Son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder William Hewlett
He's been portrayed by HP as a "musician and academic," someone not qualified to judge the merits of a multibillion-dollar technology merger. But board member Walter Hewlett has proven HP wrong, rallying concerned investors and anxious employees for his cause. One of the most vocal opponents of the merger, Hewlett has led a proxy fight with full-page newspaper ads and numerous letters to shareholders. Hewlett is also the chairman of the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, a philanthropy group that plans to vote its shares against the merger.
David Woodley Packard
Son of Hewlett-Packard co-founder David Packard
Far less vocal than the Hewlett side of the house, David Packard nonetheless has come out in opposition to the blockbuster merger. In November, Packard announced publicly that he would support the Hewlett family's decision to oppose the Compaq acquisition. He also said his Packard Humanities Institute, another family foundation, would be extremely unlikely to support the merger. In criticism, Packard questioned Fiorina's and other executives' abilities to "aggressively reinvent HP culture overnight."