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Hewlett-Packard's Whitman cites management turnover for slow progress

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) CEO Chief Executive Meg Whitman Wednesday blamed executive turnover in prior years for dragging out the turnaround of the Silicon Valley company.
Hewlett-Packard's Whitman cites management turnover for slow progress

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) CEO Chief Executive Meg Whitman Wednesday blamed executive turnover in prior years for dragging out the turnaround of the Silicon Valley company.

Whitman, who became HP's third CEO in as many years after taking the helm from Leo Apotheker, is trying to revitalize the former industry icon via layoffs, cost cuts, and expansion into areas with longer-term potential such as providing enterprise computing services.

Apotheker's 11-month tenure at the helm of HP was marked by an acceleration of departures from various divisions, such as networking chief Marius Haas, as he brought in former co-workers from Apotheker's former company, Germany's SAP AG.

"My belief is that the single biggest challenge facing Hewlett-Packard has been changes in CEOs and executive leadership, which has caused multiple inconsistent strategic choices and frankly some significant executional miscues," Whitman told investors.

"This is important because as a result it is going to take longer to right this ship than any of us would like," she added.

The largest U.S. technology company by revenue is trying to transform itself into a major enterprise computing provider, while cutting costs to boost the bottom line.

Hewlett-Packard is laying off 29,000 employees over the next two years, has written off $10.8 billion that was mostly related to the writedown of its EDS services business, and its business continues to be hit by a slowing in corporate spending and personal computer demand worldwide.

Whitman said she would work to cut the number of product offerings and cut costs as HP tries to recover in a worsening macro-economic environment. She has said it will take five years for the turnaround to be effective.

"All of this is fixable but it is going to take some time," Whitman told investors.

The company's recovery will start becoming visible in fiscal 2014 with all of the current investments paying off, she added.

Earlier this week, Hewlett-Packard unveiled plans for a new tablet computer. The ElitePad 900 is slated to be released in the U.S. in January 2013.

HP's ElitePad 900 will be an 11-inch, 1.5 pound device, complete with 3G/4G connectivity. The 1.5-pound tablet is comprised of CNC-machined aluminum and Gorilla Glass. The display will feature a screen resolution of 1,280 X 800 pixels. 

There will also be a front-facing 1,080p camera and a rear-facing 8-megapixel camera.

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