New CEO Nowhere to be Seen

By Reuters  |  Print this article Print

HP sounded a note of optimism during an investors conference yesterday, saying that it expects revenue growth of 5 to 7 percent, but disappointed many by not announcing a new CEO.

Its shares have fallen about 10 percent since Hurd's departure on Aug. 6. The company now trades at just over 9 times forward earnings, a discount to peers such as IBM and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO).

Shares of HP (NYSE:HPQ) closed at $41.63 on the New York Stock Exchange and rose 1.3 percent to $42.19 in extended trading.

But investors would like to see someone steering the ship soon. A dominant force in PCs, printers, servers and services, HP now confronts a changing IT landscape dominated by a small number of behemoths all fighting for a slice of tech spending. New rivals have swelled the ranks of traditional foes like IBM and Dell (NASDAQ:DELL).

Hurd helped overhaul HP by slashing costs and boosting efficiency, but investors are pressing for new growth initiatives. That is expected to come primarily from HP's enterprise business.

Acquisitions are key, and HP went on a spending spree in the past month. It outlasted Dell in an expensive bidding war for data storage company 3PAR Inc, and also agreed to purchase to security software company ArcSight Inc.

Those acquisitions came on the heels of deals for networking equipment maker 3Com and smartphone maker Palm. Some on Wall Street have wondered how HP plans to digest all of it.

Several executives said to be competing for the top job will address analysts on Tuesday, including personal systems group head Todd Bradley and enterprise division chief Ann Livermore. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway; Editing by Edwin Chan, Bernard Orr)