HP names firm to spearhead CEO search

SAN FRANCISCO Thu Aug 19, 2010 1:47am EDT

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels in this January 12, 2010 file photo. REUTERS/Thierry Roge

A logo of HP is seen outside Hewlett-Packard Belgian headquarters in Diegem, near Brussels in this January 12, 2010 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Hewlett-Packard Co on Wednesday named executive search firm Spencer Stuart to lead the search for a new chief executive following the stunning ouster of Mark Hurd this month.

The search will consider both internal and external candidates to helm the world's largest technology company by revenue.

A number of names have already been floated by analysts as candidates for HP's top job, though the company said it will not comment on the process or potential successors.

Analysts say possible candidates include HP's PC division chief Todd Bradley, EMC's Pat Gelsinger, IBM's Steve Mills, Microsoft's Stephen Elop and Motorola's Greg Brown.

HP announced Hurd's resignation on August 6. The company said Hurd filed inaccurate expense reports related to a female marketing contractor, Jodie Fisher, who worked for Hurd's office from 2007 through 2009.

Hurd, 53, has been credited with turning around HP after he took the CEO post in 2005, cutting costs and diversifying its revenue base.

The company is scheduled to host an analyst meeting in late September, and some HP watchers believe the company may try to bring a new chief onboard by then, which would mean a very rapid search by industry standards.

In 2005, Hurd was plucked from relative obscurity at NCR and given the top job at HP.

That hunt was conducted extremely quickly, according to a source familiar with the matter. A typical search of that kind generally takes four months, this person said, but Hurd came on board seven weeks after HP parted ways with Carly Fiorina in February of 2005.

The source said the shortlist in 2005 had five or six names.

This person estimated HP would spend around $1 million on the search for Hurd's successor, based on the cost of similar searches.

HP's board named director John Hammergren to chair the search committee. The committee also includes directors Marc Andreessen, Laurence Babbio Jr., and Joel Hyatt.

Hammergren said in a statement that the group is aiming to conduct a "swift, thorough and confidential search process."

Separately, HP named former Bloomberg News correspondent Connie Guglielmo to lead corporate communications.

Shares of HP closed up 1.3 percent at $41.36 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Phil Berlowitz, Bernard Orr)

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