Fiorina is frozen out

9 Feb 2005

Carly Fiorina, the most famous woman in the technology industry, has stepped down as chairwoman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HP), following “differences of opinion” with the board of directors. The resignation takes place with immediate effect.

Robert P Wayman, HP’s chief financial officer (CFO), has been named interim CEO and appointed to the board. Patricia C Dunn, an HP director since 1998, has been named non-executive chairwoman of the board, also effective immediately.

“Carly Fiorina came to HP to revitalise and reinvigorate the company. She had a strategic vision and put in place a plan that has given HP the capabilities to compete and win. We thank Carly for her significant leadership over the past six years as we look forward to accelerating execution of the company’s strategy,” said Dunn, on behalf of the board.

“While I regret the board and I have differences about how to execute HP’s strategy, I respect its decision,” said Fiorina. “HP is a great company and I wish all the people of HP much success in the future.”

The board will begin a search for a new CEO immediately. Wayman, a 36-year veteran of the company, will also retain his CFO responsibilities. In a statement, the company said it did not expect to make any additional structural changes or executive leadership changes at this time.
The company plans to report its first quarter financial results on 16 February, 2005, after market close. The company expects results to be in line with consensus analyst expectations, after adjusting for the effects of the previously announced Intergraph settlement.

Following Fiorina’s resignation, the company’s annual shareowner meeting, scheduled to be held in Chicago on 16 March, 2005, is likely to be an eventful one.

By Brian Skelly