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HP Said to Be Near Decision on Mark Hurd’s Successor

Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co.
Mark Hurd, chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co. Photographer: Kimberly White/Bloomberg News

Hewlett-Packard Co.’s board is nearing a decision on a successor to Mark Hurd as chief executive officer, and is leaning toward picking an internal candidate, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The short list includes Vyomesh Joshi, who runs HP’s printer business; Todd Bradley, head of the personal-computer division; Dave Donatelli, who runs the storage and server unit; Tom Hogan, executive vice president of enterprise sales and marketing; and Ann Livermore, executive vice president of the enterprise business, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private and a choice hasn’t been made.

Directors of HP, the world’s largest computer maker, met this week to weigh possible successors to Hurd, who left Aug. 6 after an investigation found he violated business-conduct standards. While it hasn’t ruled out hiring from outside, HP may not be inclined to recruit from a rival, the person said. Hurd was hired from NCR Corp. and his predecessor, Carly Fiorina, came from Lucent Technologies Inc. and departed after the company’s market value slid on her watch.

A decision on the new CEO could be announced in the coming week, the person said.

Hiring from within would also help HP avoid a legal tussle over agreements that bar executives from switching employers. Top managers at International Business Machines Corp., for example, are required to sign agreements that prohibit such moves. IBM’s Steve Mills, who has experience in hardware and software, had been named by analysts as a potential candidate.

Search Firms

While HP has hired Spencer Stuart Inc. to handle the search, its directors are also weighing recommendations from other recruitment firms.

HP shares have slumped 15 percent since Hurd resigned Aug. 6 after a company investigation found that inaccurate expense reports filed by Hurd or on his behalf concealed a personal relationship with a marketing contractor named Jodie Fisher. The stock fell $1.21, or 3 percent, to $39.14 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Bradley, Donatelli and Livermore are all “well known, well respected and good candidates for the position,” Ted Moore, a portfolio manager at Fifth Third Asset Management, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “They have a lot of bench strength at HP.”

Mylene Mangalindan, a spokeswoman for HP, declined to comment.

Internal and Outside

Oracle Corp. said on Sept. 6 that it hired Hurd as a president. That elicited a lawsuit from HP, which said that serving as an Oracle president would make it “impossible” for Hurd to avoid using or disclosing HP’s trade secrets and confidential information, according to a complaint in California’s Santa Clara County Superior Court.

Cathie Lesjak, HP’s chief financial officer, has served as interim CEO since Hurd left. She said in August that she doesn’t want to be considered for the job. The company has been interviewing CEO candidates and is “pretty open to either” internal or outside prospects, Lesjak said at a Citigroup Inc. conference Sept. 8 in New York.

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