After struggling for years with disappointing revenues and market share, Carly Fiorina was fired from the chief executive position at HP last February. But as the company claimed to be capitalising on the turn-around, a recovery magically appeared.
HP has never provided an explanation for the ousting, other than that Fiorina and the board had "differences".
But the consensus among analysts is that Fiorina was sent away because she failed to make a play in the IBM dominated services sector and against volume player Dell in the market for client PCs and industry standard servers.
A second nail in Fiorina's coffin came from an alleged culture clash between the traditional, technology driven HP and Carly's marketing savvy business approach.
The high profile acquisition of Compaq in 2001, and opposition to it, was a prime example of that conflict. Fiorina also demonstrated her marketing wit weeks before her departure, when she surrounded herself with pop-culture celebrities during a keynote at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
HP set out to find a new chief executive to fit the mold of the 'celebrity CEO'. The company found a perfect match in Mark Hurd who, until his appointment, headed up NCR, a company best known for making cash machines and other financial products for the retail sector.
Two days after his official appointment, Hurd was dragged in front of the media at HP's Silicon Valley headquarters for a press conference.
"I am not concerned about the past, I'm only concerned about the future," he told the assembled media, as he explained that he would be focusing on cost cutting.
There was just one jab at his predecessor. "The great thing about internal problems is that they are typically very easy to deal with, provided the leadership does its job," he said.
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