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Monday, September 11, 2006

HP CEO Deserves A Promotion (HPQ)

Assuming that new HP CEO Mark Hurd had no significant involvement in the phone record scandal that has engulfed the company's board, he should be made Chairman.

The back-biting in the investigation is taking up too much bandwidth for a company that is in the middle of a successful turnaround. At this point, no matter "who struck John", the company's current Chairwoman is a liability. Her instructions to look for a board leak cause the current embarrasing situation. Let her leave her job as an officer and remain on the board. And, the general counsel who lead the probe should leave.

The whole HP matter begins to look like some bizarre Watergate redux with senior people blaming those further down the ladder for bad behavior. Someone needs to take responsibility for a process that went very wrong.

Under CEO Hurd, the company has regained its footing as a tech giant. The company's shares have gone from $20 to $36 in less than two years. The man is well-regarded on Wall St, if for nothing other than his performance. Moving him up could help keep the stock near its 52-week high. Letting the current drama go on is good for no one.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

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