These Two Men Are Key To HP's Turnaround, Meg Whitman Says

Larry Stack Martin FinkLarry Stack (left) and Martin Fink

Photo: HP

HP’s future rests heavily on two men: Larry Stack and Martin Fink.At least, that’s what CEO Meg Whitman said on Thursday during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

Last week, HP re-hired Stack to be head of sales for HP’s ailing Enterprise Services unit. Stack was poached from Accenture but he had only been there two years. He worked eight years as a vice president of sales for HP ES before that.

Stack is “tasked with” figuring out how “to reignite growth” in the unit.

That’s a hard task. HP ES has been struggling for years. In its last quarter, revenue declined 7% year over year with a 1.3% operating margin. Some areas of the unit were down as much as 9%.

HP ES came from HP’s $13.9 billion acquisition of EDS in 2008.

In August, HP wrote-off $8 billion of goodwill on the unit. It’s also been a big target of many of HP’s layoffs. Last month, HP shut down an HP ES site in Germany, getting rid of 1,100 workers—about 9 per cent of its workforce in the country.

Fink also has a hard job ahead. Last month he became leader of HP Labs and its $3.4 billion R&D budget. Fink, who’s been with HP for 27 years, was running the Business Critical Server business prior to that.

Fink has been told to better “commercialize” HP’s R&D work, Whitman said. In particular she wants him to leapfrog the competition in the crowded markets of cloud computing, computer security and something Whitman calls “information optimization.” That’s otherwise known as analytics/big data.

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