On Oct. 3, Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard’s (HPQ) current and fourth chief executive in the past seven years, will meet with Wall Street analysts. Investors, customers, and employees better hope Whitman starts channeling Lou Gerstner, the former IBM (IBM) chairman who helped rescue that troubled icon.
HP, once one of the most trusted corporate brands, is in a similar weak position as Big Blue was in the early ’90s. As happened at IBM, Whitman has announced massive layoffs and a consolidation of facilities worldwide. But so far she has not indicated if the company will sell off assets or exit markets to secure its future as a more focused organization.
At this stage in HP’s 12-year decline, it will take more than slimming down the workforce and selling off assets for the company to succeed. I believe that by the end of the decade (if not before), HP will either become a holding company or be broken up and sold off—a fate Gerstner saved IBM from. HP’s only chance—albeit a slim one—would be to get back to its roots and focus on innovation and invention. (click here to access the rest of the article).