While Meg Whitman appointment as HP CEO has garnered mixed reactions from media pundits and financial observers, many tech bloggers are choosing to give the new leader some advice to help turn around the troubled IT giant.
John Baldoni, a blogger with BNet, said of the last five HP CEOs, only Lewis Platt was an insider promoted from within. The last three have all been hired from the outside, he added.
“Looking at the pictures of the four past CEOs of Hewlett-Packard stretched across the top of the New York Times business section, I thought of what Casey Stengel used to say about his New York Mets ball club – ‘Can’t anyone here play this game,”’ Baldoni wrote.
For Whitman to succeed at fixing HP, he said, she needs to hold town hall meetings across HP facilities and encourage employees to open up and share their ideas. As an outsider, Whitman would also do well to focus on promoting within, Baldoni said.
“Use your outsider status as an excuse to ‘ask dumb questions.’ That’s a technique that I’ve heard newly hired CEOs advocate.”
“Vow to be the last CEO HP hires from the outside,” he wrote.
The Street blogger James Rogers said that Whitman’s top priority should be to build stronger lines of communication around HP in order to avoid repeating the fiasco that occurred when it made its Aug. 18 strategy announcements.
“Whereas her predecessor paid the price for keeping a relatively low profile, Whitman will be a much more visible presence,” he wrote. “One of the best-known faces in Silicon Valley, the one-time eBay boss is an accomplished public performer, so expect to see her on TV and the keynote circuit hammering home HP’s strategy.”
InformationWeek’s Fritz Nelson said that while he was impressed that Whitman said “execution” is the only way to rebuild confidence, the rest of her acceptance speech contradicted that statement.
“Execute what? Because in practically the same breath, (HP Chariman Ray) Lane and Whitman said HP’s strategy was sound, and now, too, is its leadership,” he wrote. “In fact, all the strategy needed was a better communicator and executor, and Apotheker had been neither.”
“On that, there is little disagreement. But far too many questions and contradictions remain to pin all of HP’s problems on Apotheker’s lack of clarity – or to pin its hopes on Whitman’s unbridled enthusiasm.”
Nelson said that HP needs to shore up its customer sentiment for the company’s core hardware and software infrastructure businesses.
“It needs to make a very quick decision on its PC business, preferably to keep it as is,” he wrote. “It needs to clarify its services business and outline a game-plan for its cloud ambitions, including what it will deliver, and when. And then it needs to tidy up its balance sheet for a future that may well see the company invest in growing a software business around structured and unstructured data, but also one that helps fuel its business in the data centre.”