Hewlett-Packard Hires Spencer Stuart to Find Next CEO

Hewlett-Packard Co., seeking a new chief executive officer after the ouster of Mark Hurd this month, has hired Spencer Stuart Inc. to handle the search.

James Citrin, a managing director at Spencer Stuart, and Thomas Neff, the firm’s U.S. chairman, will lead the search, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Shares of HP, the top maker of personal computers, have dropped 11 percent since Hurd left on Aug. 6. He had led a turnaround at the Palo Alto, California-based company, more than doubling profit and using acquisitions to expand into new markets. The board asked for Hurd’s resignation after an investigation found he falsified expense reports to conceal a personal relationship with a marketing contractor, Jodie Fisher.

The company also named one of its directors, John Hammergren, as chairman of the board’s search committee. Marc Andreessen, Lawrence Babbio and Joel Hyatt were already appointed to the committee.

“The Spencer Stuart team will be instrumental in helping us identify a CEO with the right leadership qualities to move HP into the next phase of growth,” Hammergren said in a statement. “We look forward to conducting a swift, thorough and confidential search process, and accordingly we will have no further comment until we are ready to announce our new CEO.”

Jim Horton, a spokesman for Spencer Stuart, didn’t return a call seeking comment.

HP fell 60 cents to $40.76 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading. The shares have lost 21 percent this year.

Interim CEO

Cathie Lesjak, chief financial officer, is serving as interim CEO and has taken herself out of the running for the permanent job. Todd Bradley, who runs the PC division, Executive Vice President Dave Donatelli, and Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the enterprise business, could be candidates.

External possibilities include Steve Mills, a top executive at International Business Machines Corp., said Rick Sturm, head of EMA, which researches the information technology industry. Another possible candidate is Ray Lane, the former chief operating officer of Oracle Corp., who’s now a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, said Neil Sims, a managing director at Boyden, an executive search firm.

HP initiated the Hurd investigation on June 29 after Fisher, who spent two years at HP helping run company events, made a claim of sexual harassment against the CEO. The probe found violations of HP’s standards of business conduct, though it didn’t find violations of the harassment policy.

Hurd’s replacement will follow a five-year run of dominating the PC market and expanding into new areas. Under his guidance, HP unseated Dell Inc. in PCs and undertook more than $20 billion in acquisitions, pushing deeper into computer services, networking equipment and smartphones.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Ricadela in San Francisco at aricadela@bloomberg.net

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