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Bets on in HP-Compaq race

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The first bet on the book in the HP, Compaq desperation derby is which one will be first to declare a CEO. The more interesting bet is which runners will take over as CEO at each of the companies. There are no declared runners, so unlike a normal horse race, you can't tell which is in the stalls and which not. But here are our tips, for anyone who is placing money on the outcome, for example the shareholders of the respective two firms. We understand that David House, an ex-Intel employee who took over the tiller at Bay Networks before the Nortel takeover, is in the running for the Compaq job. A Scandinavian, understood to be currently heading a successful mobile firm, is also understood to have declared but stands little chance from the triumvirate of Ben, Frank and Ted, currently ruling the roose. Rod Canion is a rank outsider at 10,000-1. Ray Lane is also in the Houston running. At HP, Ann Livermore is still tipped for the CEO spot, but Paul Otellini, a senior VP at Intel in Santa Clara, is also in the running. There is a mystery Microsoft player too, but so far his name is just that -- a mystery. Otellini said that he would never move to Houston a few weeks back. The odds are on that one of the top two CEO jobs will be filled in the next seven days. But which one? ®

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