HP swaps PC, printer unit captains: It's all about China, Lenovo

Summary:Todd Bradley steps down from HP's PC and printer unit to be replaced by Dion Weisler, a former Lenovo and Acer executive. HP is hoping Bradley and Weisler can form an executive tag team that can tackle China and Lenovo.

Hewlett-Packard said Tuesday that Todd Bradley will step down as head of the company's PC and printing unit to focus on growing the company's footprint in China, partnerships and the channel.

Bradley's new title will be executive vice president of strategic growth initiatives. The move is interesting since Bradley was supposed to meld printing and PCs and find synergies between the two businesses. Both product lines are challenged by slower growth going forward and the PC business has to reinvent to focus on mobility. In HP's second quarter results in May, personal systems sales were down 20 percent and printing fell 1 percent from a year ago. 

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Specifically, Bradley, who will report to CEO Meg Whitman, has the following tasks:

  1. Grow China, which has been a sore spot for HP in recent quarters.
  2. Find "partnership opportunities with early-stage companies" to fuel growth and perhaps pursue a Cisco-ish R&D via acquisition strategy.
  3. Develop channel partnerships.

HP is the top PC vendor, but is increasingly challenged by Lenovo on the global front. Bradley, who is familiar with China, needs to challenge Lenovo on its home turf. Lenovo is also moving into servers and storage in China and has a partnership with EMC. In other words, Lenovo and HP will bump heads more in the future.

As for the PC and printer unit, Dion Weisler, senior vice president of the division's Asia Pacific and Japan business, will take over for Bradley. Weisler will report to Whitman. Weisler, who has been with HP since January 2012, had been chief operating officer of Lenovo's mobile and digital home groups. Before Lenovo, Weisler was an exec at Acer.

The connective tissue here is obvious. HP needs a better position in Asia. By moving Bradley to focus on China and Weisler in a role to directly compete with Lenovo, HP is at least putting its executive ducks in a row to make a move in the future.

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Hardware, Lenovo, PCs, Printers

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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