Capellas quits HP, tipped for top job at WorldCom

11 Nov 2002

Hewlett-Packard (HP) president and former CEO of Compaq before its US$16bn merger (€15.8bn) with HP, Michael Capellas, is to leave the company to pursue other career opportunities. According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, Capellas is the favourite to take over as the new CEO of beleaguered telco WorldCom.

A 26-year veteran of the IT industry, Capellas steered Compaq through the drawn-out proxy fight that preceded the merger process with HP and became president of the combined company when shareholders of both companies finally approved the merger. Capellas joined Compaq in 1998 as chief information officer and chief operations officer.

Over the past several months he played a key role along with HP CEO Carly Fiorina in stabilising the combined technology giant. He is well known in the IT industry as a talented and shrewd CEO with a firm focus on operations and customer relations.

Following revelations of a major US$9bn (€8.9bn) accounting scandal, WorldCom is looking for a fresh start as it expects to emerge from bankruptcy in mid-2003, and is on the hunt for a CEO to make this turnaround possible. According to The Wall Street Journal,the company is enthusiastic about Capellas, but is understood to be in discussions with at least three other senior executives of major technology firms.

Announcing Capellas’ decision to leave HP, Carly Fiorina said: “We’ve reached a natural transition point. Michael made a commitment to see the merger through, and now thanks to the hard work of the entire team, we are meeting or exceeding all of the integration targets.”

For his part, Capellas said: “I’m comfortable making this move because of the progress of the integration, HP’s market momentum and the strength of the management team.”

By John Kennedy