The facts behind Mark Hurd’s resignation are clearly of a personal nature and not a topic for discussion. The question is, how will HP address the challenge and opportunity that replacing Mark Hurd represents?
Mr. Hurd drove an amazing turnaround at HP, driving a focus on measurement and results that transformed the company into a cost control machine. However, Mr. Hurd’s approach branded HP as a low-cost supplier, suppressing the image of the company as an innovator (this is much better than being an unprofitable innovator). I don’t expect HP’s operational discipline to fade. Mr. Hurd achieved that result through his leadership team, and they will continue to execute his plan.
Given the operational foundation that Mr. Hurd built, HP has the opportunity to bring in a new leader who can take HP to the next stage. The company needs to be recognized by consumers as a cool brand, a company that makes products that you have to have. And there’s no immediate pressure to do this, so the board has time to make the right choice for the future of HP – and its future customers.