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3/29/2005
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Is NCR Chief Mark Hurd HP's Next CEO?

HP has reportedly chosen NCR chief Mark Hurd as its next CEO, according to reports. Relatively unknown, Hurd was with NCR for nearly 25 years, most recently as its president and CEO. Now he has the daunting task of replacing Carly Fiorina, which HP ousted last month amid losing market share in several key segments in which it competes.

HP has chosen NCR chief Mark Hurd as its next CEO. Relatively unknown, Hurd was with NCR for nearly 25 years, most recently as its president and CEO. Now he has the daunting task of replacing Carly Fiorina, who HP ousted last month amid losing market share in several key segments in which it competes.

HP announced its selection of Hurd Tuesday after a near two-month search, which followed Fiorina's ouster. Hurd has been NCR's CEO since 2003 and has been with the company since 1980. He previously served as the company's COO and, prior to that, as head of the company's Teradata business unit. Under his watch as CEO, NCR's stock more than tripled. HP's stock, on the other hand, has remained largely stagnant in recent years, in spite of its merger with Compaq Computer in 2002.

Hurd was widely responsible for NCR's move away from low-margin businesses, such as PCs, servers and storage subsystems, instead opting to focus on data warehousing, says Ken Baulderstone, a longtime associate of Hurd and current chief marketing officer of NCR partner AppFusion, formerly known as Tier 1 Partners.

"He will bring focus to HP," Baulderstone says, adding that Hurd values partners. "If the partner is truly delivering value to HP, they should be very happy, but if they are not making a significant contribution to HP, I don't think there's a lot in this appointment for them."

With a penchant for high-margin businesses, Hurd will want to make a greater push into software, Baulderstone predicts, describing him as a strong leader.

"He's an excellent motivator -- he's very analytical, a quick decision-maker, great on his feet, and he's not prepared to be distracted," he says.

Shares of HP were up 10 percent when the market closed, while shares of NCR were down 17 percent.

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