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Hewlett-Packard CEO Whitman Focuses on Product ‘Breadth’

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman, president and chief executive officer at Hewlett- Packard Co. Photographer: Tony Avelar/Bloomberg

Hewlett-Packard Co. Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman said after the “turmoil” from last year’s management upheaval, the company is working to differentiate itself with partnerships, a broad product base and an emphasis on engineering.

“HP is truly differentiated. Differentiated by the breadth of our portfolio,” Whitman said today in a keynote address at the company’s Discover conference in Las Vegas. Hewlett-Packard is unveiling new hardware and software for data security and analysis to about 11,000 attendees at the event.

About 70 percent of the company’s sales come from personal computers, printers, storage, servers, and networking gear, said Whitman, who took the reins of the world’s largest personal computer and printer maker in September.

Whitman is in the early stages of a turnaround after declining sales and a loss of investor confidence led to last year’s ouster of her predecessor Leo Apotheker. Last month she announced plans to cut 27,000 jobs, or 8 percent of the workforce, and has said she’ll eschew big acquisitions to rebuild the balance sheet.

Sales at the Palo Alto, California-based company this year may decline 3.1 percent to $123.4 billion, the average analyst estimate in data compiled by Bloomberg. Net income may decline 36 percent to $4.5 billion.

Debt, Cash

The company has $21.8 billion in debt and $8.3 billion in cash after buying Autonomy Corp. last year for $10.3 billion.

Under Whitman, research and development is rising and she is directing spending toward products for cloud computing, data security and information management.

At the conference, which runs from June 4 to June 7, Hewlett-Packard showed a computer for managing large data sets in conjunction with the open-source Hadoop file-management software, and a storage system capable of backing up 100 terabytes of data per hour.

The company also announced a cloud-computing service for airlines that lets them more efficiently book reservations and manage departures.

Hewlett-Packard rose 2.9 percent to $21.68 at the close in New York. The shares have fallen 40 percent in the past year.

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