Technology Startups

HP Reshuffle: Will The Change Lead To A Better Order?

Palo Alto, California:

Hewlett Packard Co. has announced several key organisational changes under its relatively new CEO and president Leo Apothekar, with Vyomesh Joshi stepping in with an additional responsibility for HP India.

As part of the reshuffle, Vyomesh Joshi, executive vice-president of HP's Imaging and Printing Group, will be additionally responsible for leading the company's Indian initiatives towards bringing market-specific solutions to customers. This is good news for Joshi, who has been reportedly considered for the CEO's role for quite some time, but was passed over for Mark Hurd and then Leo Apothekar by the board of the software and services giant.

Let us take a quick look at Joshi's report card. In the last eight years under Joshi's leadership, HP's Imaging and Printing Group or IPG has grown in revenue by about $5 billion and doubled its operating profit to more than $4 billion. IPG is now a $24 billion annual revenue business and one that has been both a market leader and a steady profit centre for the company, even when its other businesses, especially the solutions and services segments, were not doing too well.

The 57-year-old has been a veteran with HP, and is on his 31st year now with the company, ever since he joined way back in 1980. Incidentally, Joshi was among the three Indian Americans named in Fortune magazine's 'list of the most influential African-American, Latino, and Asian-Americans in business, sports, politics, academia, and the arts' some years ago. He is also believed to be extremely popular within the company.

India is a critical market for HP, the company has said as part of the announcement regarding the reshuffle. Just a few days ago, HP announced $1 million investment in support of a new Education Innovation Challenge Fund for India (a consortium led by several educational organisations in the country).

The company also announced the opening of a new imaging and printing enterprise solutions unit in Bangalore, the first for HP in India, and the company's fourth such centre in the world.

HP has not disclosed whether there will be a new team to assist Joshi for his additional responsibility related to growing the India business. At the time of posting this report, the firm's communication team did not respond to a Techcircle query on any change in the existing reporting structure of HP India.

This Strategy Or That The company has been missing its mark ever since and yet another CEO had been asked to leave by the board. Leo Apothekar, the ex-CEO of SAP, who is currently at the helm of HP, is generally considered a rather unlikely choice for the post and although he has been putting down part of his performance gaffe to Hurd's missteps, HP's stock has been steadily climbing down ever since he took on his predecessor's chair. An internal memo where Apothekar cautions his employees of tough times ahead were leaked and the CEO lowered his forecast for the fiscal year for the second time. The times may be changing, though.

The company came up with a new strategy road map in March this year. HP announced that it intended to develop a portfolio of cloud services – from infrastructure to platform services. It also had plans to develop and run the industry's first open cloud marketplace including a consumer app store and an enterprise application and services catalogue. The company also intended to build webOS into a leading connectivity platform, it said in a statement.

So, What Changes? The reshuffle is a step forward in aligning its internal corporate structure with the road map announced by the company in March in San Francisco, said HP.

Randy Mott, executive vice-president and chief information officer with HP, is leaving. This move does not come as a real surprise, though. There have been media reports speculating that he was likely to go as early as January this year. This was around the same time the company hired Emil Sayegh from Rackspace Hosting as vice-president for cloud services and Bill Wohl, a former SAP public-relations executive, as chief communications officer, a new post created exclusively for him. HP is looking for a successor to Mott.

In another high profile development, Pete Bocian, who joined HP from Starbucks in 2008 and was reporting to Hurd directly, is out. He was the company's executive vice-president and chief administrative officer. The company is not looking for a replacement, but will streamline its administrative operations instead.

Then again, Ann Livermore, a 29-year veteran with the company, is stepping down as the executive vice-president of the hi-tech giant's enterprise business division. She will continue as interim lead and sponsor certain key accounts until her shoes are filled. Livermore, who had previously been in the running for the company's chief executive position but was shot down, will continue with HP in her new role as the elected member of the company's board. The new EVP will report to Apothekar when she/he joins the company.

So will the leaders of the customer-facing business units now. Dave Donatelli, executive vice-president (enterprise servers, storage, networking and technology services), and Bill Veghte, executive vice-president (software), will be reporting directly to Apotheker as will Jan Zadak, executive vice-president (global sales).

Todd Bradley, executive vice-president (personal systems group), will lead cross-business initiatives focused on expanding HP's market share in China, a country the company said was a critical market, along with India.