February 9, 2005 2:00 PM PST

Who will lead HP now? Experts offer their picks

As tech industry icon Hewlett-Packard begins the search for its next chief executive, industry observers and CEO recruiters have plenty of suggestions on who would make good candidates.

Here are some of the names popping up:

Michael Capellas. The former CEO of Compaq Computer sold his company to HP in mid-2002. In November 2003, he resigned from HP to head up MCI.


Michael Capellas
president and CEO,
MCI

Capellas may soon find himself without a job if he is able to sell MCI to another telecommunications company.

"I think the world of Michael Capellas," said a former Compaq director. "He's a good operations guy and can fit in well with the HP culture, or any corporate culture."

Bringing back an executive who left after promising to stay at the company following the merger, however, could be a nightmare for image consultants.

"Although he is good at operations, HP's board may have a public-relations issue if they hire Capellas," said Stephen Mader, vice chairman of executive search company Christian & Timbers. "Capellas is the guy that sold them the problems they are having."

John Joyce. Joyce is head of IBM's Global Services Division--and HP views services as a high-growth area for the company, one where HP has been striving to improve its operations. In the past, Joyce also served as IBM's chief financial officer and as the company's president of Asia-Pacific operations.


John Joyce
senior VP,
IBM Global Services

Joyce would also have to wait some time to take over the CEO spot at IBM. CEO Sam Palmisano is only in his early 50s.

"I would also look at John Joyce from IBM, where he's been running a huge business for them," said David Nosal, a CEO search consultant.

"What better way to take on IBM than to hire an IBMer?" said Meta Group analyst Nick Gall.

Other strong IBM candidates include Steve Mills, senior vice president of the software group; Abby Kohnstamm, senior vice president of marketing; Nick Donofrio, senior vice president of technology and manufacturing; and Doug Elix, senior vice president of sales and distribution. Most have been at IBM for decades.

Sean Maloney. The British-born Maloney has been one of the rising stars at Intel for years.


Sean Maloney
Executive VP,
Intel

Among other jobs, he served as Andy Grove's assistant during the Pentium bug crisis and ran Asia-Pacific sales for the company during the late '90s. He now heads up the communications division.

With Paul Otellini slated to become the next CEO, Maloney won't have a shot at the top spot at Intel for about five years, when age will require Otellini to step down.

On the other hand, Maloney is the likely successor to Otellini.

Vyomesh Joshi. Joshi runs HP's printer and PC divisions and is generally held in high regard by employees and analysts. Selecting an in-house candidate would also allow HP to demonstrate consistency.

Along these lines, another possible candidate is Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the technology solutions group at HP.

Ed Zander. The Motorola CEO (and former president of Sun Microsystems) gets high marks from analysts and headhunters.

However, he's riding a crest of success. Motorola's sales have begun to perk up, thanks in part to fancy new phones. The company has also launched a home networking strategy.

Kevin Rollins. Headhunters salivate whenever the Dell CEO's name comes up. "If I were HP's board, I would do whatever I could to pull Kevin Rollins out of Dell," Nosal said. It's a tough order, though.

"I don't know that there is a recipe that can turn it around," Rollins said in November. "I wouldn't go there first off. I wouldn't go run that one."


Kevin Rollins,
president and CEO,
Dell

But who knows how long HP's list really is? Mader noted that HP's directors may be interested in relatively unknown candidates from the telecommunications services arena.

"I think you're going to see a selection of someone out of left field. It will be somewhat like when Lou Gerstner was hired by IBM," Mader said. "It would be about leadership and operational excellence, more than industry knowledge."

Conglomerate CEOs are another possibility. HP is the sum of several different divisions, so the board may try to get someone who is running or has run a company like General Electric or Tyco International--one that's a collection of somewhat independent units.

"I think they'd like to find another Jack Welch (former GE chief executive), someone who has run a conglomerate," said Carl Claunch, research vice president at Gartner. In this vein, Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy has been touted as a potentially attractive candidate by some headhunters.

CNET News.com's Ina Fried contributed to this report.

8 comments

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
Nobody but me...!
Guess what!

nobody can run HP better than a person running a software firm in Karachi Pakistan and that person is me, 3 years of successful leadership.

Ammar Akhtar
Vice President R & D
Softflux Pakistan
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nobody but me...!
Guess what!

nobody can run HP better than a person running a software firm in Karachi Pakistan and that person is me, 3 years of successful leadership.

Ammar Akhtar
Vice President R & D
Softflux Pakistan
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HP needs a CEO with global character
What HP needs it an enterprise trend setter, they are in a position now to take the market to the next level.

They need someone who can do a dance around Dell to gain more market share on the PC front.

I have always felt one of HP's problems has been with it's branding, HP as a brand makes one think these days of the enterprise associated with quality and expensive equipment whereas Compaq is an elite quality laptop. They need a 3rd brand if they wish to compete with Dell, one of low cost.

I must say all the Dell computers I have had and had to fix have been noisy and problematic, they feel, run and look cheap. But they are cheap!!!

On other fronts, partner with IBM and others on the OS (Linux) scene creating a healthy environment for the two to compete in the services and big iron arena.

Also get involved with trendy new services like CosmoPOD.com
Posted by iqula (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HP needs a CEO with global character
What HP needs it an enterprise trend setter, they are in a position now to take the market to the next level.

They need someone who can do a dance around Dell to gain more market share on the PC front.

I have always felt one of HP's problems has been with it's branding, HP as a brand makes one think these days of the enterprise associated with quality and expensive equipment whereas Compaq is an elite quality laptop. They need a 3rd brand if they wish to compete with Dell, one of low cost.

I must say all the Dell computers I have had and had to fix have been noisy and problematic, they feel, run and look cheap. But they are cheap!!!

On other fronts, partner with IBM and others on the OS (Linux) scene creating a healthy environment for the two to compete in the services and big iron arena.

Also get involved with trendy new services like CosmoPOD.com
Posted by iqula (59 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why is Capellas even considered ?
I am appaled that Michael Capellas is even considered for the job,
let alone considered a front runner.

He did not earn his position at Compaq. He was the interim caretaker after they ousted Pfeiffer,
and because they couldn't find anyone willing to take the job,
Capellas ended up getting his temporary assignment made permanent.

He ran Compaq to the ground, he sabotaged its enterprise business,
and focused on help Microsoft and Intel shareholders instead
of focusing on his own company.

If HP decide to hire Capellas, the signal will be clear:
His mandate will be to lower HP's value to a point where it becomes
a takeover target, just as he did with Compaq.

He, and Robert Palmer belong into the corporate wrecker hall of fame (or is it infame?)
Posted by jfmezei (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why is Capellas even considered ?
I am appaled that Michael Capellas is even considered for the job,
let alone considered a front runner.

He did not earn his position at Compaq. He was the interim caretaker after they ousted Pfeiffer,
and because they couldn't find anyone willing to take the job,
Capellas ended up getting his temporary assignment made permanent.

He ran Compaq to the ground, he sabotaged its enterprise business,
and focused on help Microsoft and Intel shareholders instead
of focusing on his own company.

If HP decide to hire Capellas, the signal will be clear:
His mandate will be to lower HP's value to a point where it becomes
a takeover target, just as he did with Compaq.

He, and Robert Palmer belong into the corporate wrecker hall of fame (or is it infame?)
Posted by jfmezei (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
give thought to employees
They will need to find someone who can boost employee morale. Employees are tired of wondering when and not if they will be axed.

Employees job performance ratings suck. You have to have as many poor performing employees
as you have exceptional employees.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
give thought to employees
They will need to find someone who can boost employee morale. Employees are tired of wondering when and not if they will be axed.

Employees job performance ratings suck. You have to have as many poor performing employees
as you have exceptional employees.
Posted by (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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