Mark Hurd Was Chief of NCR

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YORK, Pa. (AdAge.com) -- Hewlett-Packard today named Mark Hurd, CEO of of NCR, as its new chief executive, replacing Carly Fiorina, who was ousted about six weeks ago.
Photo: AP
Mark Hurd, former CEO of NCR, has been named CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
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Ms. Fiorina's strategy
HP's decision seems to indicate its desire to continue its current course as a unified company, both in business and marketing strategy. The choice of Mr. Hurd instead of a more vocal "star" means HP's board intends for the "One Voice" message and strategy initiated by Ms. Fiorina to continue. Analysts say it is much less likely that the No. 2 computer maker would now spin off its divisions, a move that Wall Street and investors had wanted .

"Hurd will steer the boat, not set the course. HP is staying the course with someone who can execute the strategy already in place," analyst Rob Enderle of Enderle Group said.

'Operations guy'
Mr. Hurd's first challenge is to convince insiders that HP will not change significantly, while convincing outsiders that little change is a sound business strategy for the bottom line. Mr. Hurd, 48, who spent 25 years climbing the corporate ladder at NCR,  a database computer services company based in Dayton, Ohio, is known as an "operations guy" and is credited for turning around NCR after being appointed CEO in 2003.

Another important challenge for Mr. Hurd will be to name a replacement for former top marketing executive Allison Johnson, who went to Apple in late February. Ms. Johnson was a close confidant of Ms. Fiorina, and A.J., as she prefers to be called, was widely recognized as the driving force behind HP's quite aggressive branding and marketing initiatives over the past several years.

Prepare way for V.J.
There is also speculation that Mr. Hurd will be used to help groom the next generation of leadership. Mr. Enderle said: "They needed someone who can and will step aside in the next three to five years when V.J. is ready to take over."

Mr. Enderle is referring to Vyomesh Joshi, who leads the printing and digital-imaging business at HP and and is well-liked within the company and among customers.

HP's next marketing moves will likely focus on some of the products Mr. Joshi oversees. Even with a new marketing executive coming on board, HP will likely continue to shift some of the money it spent more recently for overall branding to product advertising to generate demand and drive sales.

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