If you could be HP's CEO for a day...

If you could be HP's CEO for a day...

Summary: In his relatively new gig (Grassroots Journalism), Dan Gillmor is developing a knack for calling out over-the-top excessiveness when it's begging to be called out. It's the main reason I follow Gillmor's blog.

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TOPICS: CXO
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In his relatively new gig (Grassroots Journalism), Dan Gillmor is developing a knack for calling out over-the-top excessiveness when it's begging to be called out. It's the main reason I follow Gillmor's blog. As the master aggregator and editorializer of financial impropriety, few people seem to cross borders (industries, government, etc.) to zero in on such poor form when it happens with exactly the right perspective the way Gillmor does. One of my personal favorites came when he hammered George W. Bush and friends for spending $40 million on parties to celebrate the victory over John Kerry. With great economy of words, Gillmor summarized "What Bush and his allies are doing is just plain vulgar, particularly in wartime. They have no sense of proportion, as they've demonstrated so many times before. But this is over the top. Bush's press secretary says the object of this over-the-top scene is to 'celebrate freedom.' No, it's a mockery." Love or hate the Bush administration, Gillmor made a great point.

So, it came as no surprise when today when Gillmor zeroed in on BusinessWeek's story regarding the $3 million bonus that HP's board awarded to its CFO Robert Wayman for temporarily filling in as CEO while the company sought a replacement for Carly Fiorina. Not only does that sum come in at a mere $100,000 less than Fiorina's total compensation for all of 2004, it worked out to $58,000 per day -- more money than many Americans see in two years and a slap in the face to the HP stockholders who lost money during Fiorina's reign. One can only imagine where HP would be if that was Fiorina's pay-rate throughout her tenure as CEO. Of course, with her $21 million in severance pay, another gaff that Gillmor nailed, it's doubtful that Carly will be jealous of her former direct report's daily pay. Said Gillmor in today's post, "With this flagrantly over-the-top gift, the board is showing contempt for its shareholders, employees and communities."

Topic: CXO

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  • Largesse

    The 3 million "gift" was to retain a valuable employee - since he was NOT going to get a promotion and HP wanted to keep him. Maybe not a bad idea - and 3 mill is cheap - since replacing him would have cost that much or more.

    If I was HP CEO for a day, I would refocus the company on the Itanium chip. I would PUSH the x86 compatability more vocally (you DID know that Itanium is x86 compatable - right?). And I would eliminate projects that used any other chips than Itanium and Opteron (for the low end). I would make sure that there was a focus on virtual server software - maybe even partnering or buying another company's product.

    I would re-enter the mainframe world. HP built its last mainframe almost 10 years ago - when the whole world thought that mainframes were dead. Now IBM has the market for themselves. So just as DaimlerChrysler re-introduces a rear-wheel drive car - HP should re-introduce the mainframe. Use the Itanium processor and support 3 OS' VMS, HPUX, and Linux. Open Source Tru64 UNIX - to get some good press from former DEC/Compaq people. Non-stop OS should be stopped.

    Buy or partner with some Linux companies. MandrakeLinux for the OS, and maybe LinuxCare or some other company for support. This way, you can jump start your Linux offerings quickly.

    Offer up programmers to work on OSS projects of value to HP i.e. GCC - a GNU compiler that can optimize code for Itanium is a MUST. InHell should pony up some people too.

    Oh yes, at the end of the day you can pay me my $58,000! >>I<< think it was worth it!
    Roger Ramjet
    • re: Itanium being x86 compatible.

      All microprocessors can be made x86 compatible in the same way that the Itanium is x86 compatible: with a software emulator. That, in my estimation, is not real x86 compatibility.

      db
      dberlind