HP separates PC unit, hires ex PalmOne CEO

Hewlett-Packard Co. chief executive officer Mark Hurd has begun to shake things up at his new company. On Monday the Palo Alto, California technology company announced that it had split its recently merged printer and personal computer groups into two separate divisions, undoing one of the last major decisions made by Hurd’s predecessor, Carly Fiorina.

The newly independent Personal Systems Group will be headed by former PalmOne Inc. Chief Executive Officer Todd Bradley, who has been hired as executive vice president. The division, which has struggled financially, produces handheld, notebook and desktop PCs.

Vyomesh Joshi, who had been running the combined Imaging and Personal Systems Group, will now serve as executive vice president of HP’s highly profitable Imaging and Printing group, the same role he had held before the two groups were merged in January.

Hurd signed on as HP’s chief executive at the end of March but until now had not made any management changes.

The company is looking to simplify the management structure of the group and to “find ways we can get some of the cost out of the businesses and streamline things,” said HP spokesman Michael Moeller.

HP had cited similar reasons as the rationale for the merger of the two groups back in January, but it had a hard time convincing observers that the merger would deliver the promised benefits.

The re-separation will make it harder for HP to hide the PC group’s poor performance, but it can also be taken as a comment on Fiorina’s performance, said Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT Inc., in Hayward, California. “You could interpret it as a … slap,” he said. “‘No, you weren’t doing your job right, and now we’re going to put things back together the way they should be.'”

Bradley resigned as PalmOne CEO earlier in the year. Previously he had worked at Gateway Inc., where he served as executive vice president, global operations. He also held positions at GE Capital Corp., The Dun & Bradstreet Corp., and FedEx Corp., according to HP.

Related links:

Brace for change as Fiorina leaves HP: analysts

HP PC unit’s future unsettled as Fiorina leaves

Hurd deflects queries on plans for HP

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