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HP turns to Meg Whitman's ex-chief of staff for tough UK job

Jacqui Ferguson to head up Enterprise Services revival

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Meg Whitman’s former veep chief of staff, Jacqui Ferguson, has returned to her UK roots with HP, taking control of the troubled Enterprise Services division with a remit to get things firing again.

This will be no walk in the park: ES is already undergoing corrective surgery to trim costs by tightening policies covering overtime, travel, recruitment, customer implementation, and redundancies.

In the nine months of this financial year, ES global turnover slipped seven per cent, to $16.88bn, as earning before tax came in at $429m, only slightly better than the $424m reported a year ago.

And this week, top brass confirmed “key account run-off” and “softer than expected [customer] signings” in the current fiscal, ending October, will lead to a three to five per cent sales dip in the next one.

Andy Isherwood, UK boss at HP, confirmed to us that Ferguson has returned to Blighty as ES general manager for the UK, Ireland, and MEMEA.

“Jacqui‘s appointment is an important milestone for HP ES in EMEA, with the remit to improve our market focus and competitiveness and support future growth,” he told us.

The challenge for HP is that private organisations and government departments are tendering shorter and smaller outsourcing contracts, with the mega deals of yesteryear drying up during the recession.

In August, TechMarketView revealed Crapita Capita had usurped HP as the largest provider of software and services to the UK public sector for 2013, chalking up £1.59bn of sales (up eleven per cent on the year), versus £1.48bn from HP (down ten per cent on the year).

Ferguson worked “directly” for HP CEO Whitman for nearly three years on the “overall company strategy and operations, where she played a key role supporting and enabling the HP turnaround", said Isherwood.

She knows the ES business — effectively the acquired EDS operation — better than many, having started as a client delivery executive in spring 1997 and rising through the ranks before it was sold to Palo Atlo-based HP.

As revealed by us months ago, Ferguson’s replacement as chief of staff for Whitman was another Brit, former HP PC and printer UK and Ireland boss Paul Hunter.

In the ES role, Ferguson replaces Craig Wilson, who ran ES in the UK and Ireland for six years. It is rumoured that he’ll take a global role in HP Inc, the new home of the PC and printer business.

“Craig has been asked to take on a new and exciting global role within HP that will be announced in due course,” said Isherwood. ®

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