November 16, 1999 9:25 AM PST

Winery draws former HP chief exec

Lew Platt, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, will join Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates as its new CEO.

Platt will join the winery in January and replace Leonard Cairney, who will become chief operating officer.

"Lew has been an avid wine collector for a long time, and during the same time we were looking for [the chief executive position], we found there was this great executive coming on the market," said Jim Caudill, a Kendall spokesman.

The position marks a new chapter in Platt's life, which has been spent at HP for the past three decades. But Platt, who spent the last seven years as CEO, was under siege during the past couple of years as the company faced sluggish growth and Wall Street's dismay over a lagging stock. In addition, critics had complained the computer giant was slow to embrace the Internet boom.

Platt announced in March that he would step down as CEO when a replacement was found. And in July, the company hired Carleton "Carly" Fiorina as its new CEO to deliver a sense of urgency and speed to the operations. Fiorina was president of Lucent Technologies' Global Service Provider Business before joining HP.

Platt, who was placed by search firm Heidrick & Struggles, will be stepping down as HP chairman at the end of the year.

 

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