Hewlett-Packard chief executive Lew Platt has been forced to temporarily assume control of the company?s volume product business himself, following the shock departure of its vice president Rick Belluzo to head up Silicon Graphics.
Sales and distribution vice president Dick Watts is favourite to replace Belluzo, sources said.
Watts, a Briton who has close ties to the UK operation and reseller channel, is a likely replacement because HP has a history of promoting from within. Other candidates include software and services VP Anne Livermore, consumer products VP Antonio Perez and enterprise systems VP Bill Russell, also from Britain. HP refused to comment.
Belluzo saw the tough job of reviving the ailing SGI as preferable to the second most important job at HP, general manager of the computer organisation. Sources said he was not prepared to wait for Platt, 56, to step down.
Despite 22 years at HP, Belluzo decided to join SGI as chairman and chief executive. Two days ago, SGI announced it had lost $31 million in Q4 1997 and laid off 850 staff under intense pressure in the graphics workstation market from Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer, Compaq and, ironically, HP.
Belluzo replaces Ed McCracken, who will remain as a consultant until June. Belluzo said SGI has the technology and brand to succeed. ?I?m confident I can provide the leadership to help Silicon Graphics improve its performance and achieve its extraordinary potential in the years ahead.? Analysts said Belluzo was SGI?s best choice but agreed that the position will be a great challenge.
Platt did Belluzo?s job before taking over at HP and the departure of Belluzo shocked the conservative hierarchy at HP, according to sources. ?We?ll miss Rick Belluzo?s many contributions to our computer organisation, which he left in excellent shape,? Platt admitted in a statement. Belluzo ran HP?s PC, workstation, printer, plotter, software and services groups - a $35 billion business.
In an unrelated move, SGI shareholders launched a class action lawsuit against the company following its poor results, alleging insider trading and that SGI misled shareholders about the company?s fortunes during mid-1997.
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