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Next HP CEO is already working at HP, says Meg Whitman

But won't get job 'anytime soon'

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HP CEO Meg Whitman says her eventual successor will be recruited from within the company and not externally as has been the case with the previous batch of bigwigs.

Ever since it hauled in Carly Fiorina from Lucent, who was replaced by Mark Hurd, then Leo Apotheker and Whitman, onlookers criticised HP's board for bypassing existing execs.

There were a bunch of obvious candidates, from HP veterans Anne Livermore and Vyomesh Joshi to global PC chief Todd Bradley, but none made the grade.

Whitman, who has gone on record to say she'll need years to turnaround the company, told attendees at the Global Partner Conference, "I am here for the duration".

"I am here to see this through, but the next CEO of HP must come from inside the company. I have managed a very steep learning curve [since joining], but that was unnecessary."

The old-fashioned "HP way" was to nurture top talent internally, she said, and vowed to return to this way of operating.

"We are committed to people, to career growth, and you have my commitment that the next CEO of HP will come from the company. But it won't be anytime soon," said Whitman.

In fact, she stopped short of detailing when she plans to leave HP – she gave a date while at eBay – but if the turnaround plan doesn't go to schedule, the decision may not be hers to make.

Whitman told the conference she expected HP to show "real" growth and expansion in 2014, but reckoned channel partners will see improved results for fiscal 2013. ®

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