Meg Whitman: Excerpts from new HP CEO's first talk with investors
Meg Whitman made her first public appearance as Hewlett-Packard Co.'s new chief executive during a call with analysts Thursday afternoon. Whitman told the gathering about her plans for the company's future, why her hiring was good for investors, and the prospect of an uphill battle to restore the company to financial health.
HP's stock was down nearly 4% in early trading Friday, as investors apparently remain skeptical about the company's prospects.
Here are a few of her statements.
On whether HP's decision to hire her was too hasty:
I think the way we have to rebuild the confidence of investors, the confidence of employees, is we have to execute. We have to say what we’re going to do. We have to mean it, and we have to deliver the results. In the end, the only thing that will rebuild confidence in this company is delivering the results, and that's what I intend to do.
Meeting the challenges:
Now, I know that HP has disappointed investors in recent quarters, and we're not happy about it. Going forward, HP will have no higher priority than to do everything in our power to meet the
challenges of today's macroeconomic environment, and frankly, improve our operational and
financial performance. At the same time, we have to deliver the world-class products, solutions and services our customers have come to expect from HP.
We understand that our performance is under intense scrutiny, and we will take the necessary actions to get HP back on track. That isn't something we can do overnight. It's going to take time. It's going to take a lot of hard work to bring all of the elements together. We’ve got to leverage the entire portfolio to bring solutions to market that solve customer problems. But I know we have the tools and the people to achieve our goals.
We'll continue to invest in our market-leading servers, storage, networking, printing, PCs, software, and service offerings. We expect that by executing on HP's strategic actions, we will deliver greater value for our stockholders, broader solutions for our customers, and enhanced opportunities for our employees.
As you all know, our plan includes the evaluation of a spinoff of PSG [the personal computing unit], a leadership position in structured and unstructured data -– which is why we are doing the acquisition of Autonomy -– and the discontinuation of the TouchPad, Pre and Veer devices. I thought I'd provide an update on where we are in the process of executing against these initiatives.
First, with regard to the potential spinoff of PSG, we're committed to doing the work right now to determine the best path forward, and we expect the board to make a determination by the end of
the calendar year, if not sooner. This decision is solely based on the value to investors and value to customers. Second, the Autonomy acquisition, which I'm excited about, is proceeding as planned and is expected to be completed by the end of the calendar year. And third, we continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software.
On whether to spin off the PC unit (PSG), and HP's hardware business
The best thing we can do is get to a decision on PSG as fast as possible. This decision, it's not like fine wine. It's not going to get better with age. We've got to do the analysis, get to the decision, and then tell our customers and the market what it is that we're going to do. And then I want to reiterate our commitment to the hardware business. It doesn't matter what the outcome of that is; we are still -– the vast majority of this revenue of the company is still in the hardware business, whether it's servers, networking equipment, you name it. So we will get to this decision as fast as we can. We'll communicate that decision, and that will remove a lot of uncertainty, and then I want to make sure that we underscore our commitment to the hardware business.
-- David Sarno
Photo: Meg Whitman. Credit: Mario Anzuoni / Reuters