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HP's Chief Accountant preaches 'accountability'

Hurd bores Wall Street into submission

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HP's CEO Mark Hurd went to Wall Street yesterday, hoping to convince investors that he'd learned something about the company during his first six months on the job. Most accounts record Hurd's New York Stock Exchange performance as a sobering affair. The former NCR frontman gave off a boring yet capable air, as expected.

To back up Hurd, HP pumped the wires full of press releases, covering everything from an acquisition to some old fashioned Sun bashing. But first to the Big Cheese, who no doubt timed the NYSE speech so he could catch a bit of the US Open - tennis stud that he is.

Unlike his predecessor Carly Fiorina, Hurd declined to promise investors the world. Instead, he threatened the workforce with a touch of reality.

"We've got some looseness in our structures and our processes," he said. "We have to get away from managing and reporting to leading and driving."

"We have got to get accountability and responsibility lower down in the organization." Also adding, "People tell you they love to be accountable. Now we'll see who steps up."

That should catch the attention of workers, as HP continues along a massive firing that will see the company axe close to 15,000 staffers.

Along with the accountability theme, Hurd ran with the usual strategic investments, not caught between IBM and Dell, hooray for printers and our PC business isn't that bad lines. Away from Wall Street, HP supplied a few items to back up its boss.

The company announced that it will acquire Kiwi consulting firm CGNZ, which employs close to 180 people in Auckland and Wellington. "In addition to bringing high-end business consulting expertise to the HP Services' offering in New Zealand, CGNZ also adds a highly regarded enterprise resource planning practice to HP, as well as strength in a number of industry sectors, including energy and utilities, health, manufacturing, and central and local government," HP said.

HP did not release financial terms for the deal and said it should close within 30 days.

In addition, HP touted a $100m investment in its Business Continuity and Recovery Centers located throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. These centers should help customers recover more quickly from, for example, a natural disaster or security attack. A list of the recovery centers is available here.

Hurd took the time to knock Sun as well, saying HP had pulled in more than $200m by nabbing 150 Sun accounts during the first half of 2005. That's double what HP took from Sun during the same period last year, he said. Finally, HP announced that it hired Palm advisor Satjiv Chahil to serve as SVP of personal systems marketing. ®

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