Livermore gives up key role at HP

Ann Livermore, Hewlett-Packard’s longest-serving senior executive, is to give up her responsibilities as part of a top-level reshuffle by Léo Apotheker, the company’s new chief executive.

The reorganisation, which will involve the departure of three of the company’s 10 executives below the chief executive, completes a shake-up that Mr Apotheker had already begun at a lower level in the management hierarchy as he tries to revitalise the struggling technology conglomerate.

Ms Livermore, who joined HP in 1982, climbed through the company’s sales and marketing organisation to become one of the top female executives in Silicon Valley.

She has been in charge of all of HP’s servers, storage, software and services operations that sell to business and government customers – the company’s largest division, accounting for 47 per cent of its revenues and 59 per cent of its operating profits in the most recent quarter.

HP depicted Ms Livermore’s departure, which will also see her appointed to the company’s board, as part of a streamlining of the company by Mr Apotheker to gain more direct control over its key business units. The three senior executives who had reported to her, along with a new head of services yet to be hired, will all report to the chief executive, the company said.

Ms Livermore had been tipped as a possible chief executive before HP hired former Lucent saleswoman Carly Fiorina in 1999. She survived a number of senior management changes and continued to run the largest portion of HP’s business after Mark Hurd, another outsider, was brought in to replace Ms Fiorina in 2005.

“I don’t think anyone will be too surprised by the move,” said Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus. A more significant part of Monday’s HP announcement, he added, was that Mr Apotheker had appeared to tie in other key executives, ensuring their continuation at the company.

These included Tod Bradley, head of the company’s PC division, who was himself passed over for the top job, and Dave Donatelli, the head of servers and storage hardware, who will now report directly to Mr Apotheker, he added.

Mr Apotheker had revealed earlier this year that he was planning to strip Ms Livermore of responsibility for the company’s services business, which has become the source of some of Wall Street’s most persistent concerns about HP’s performance.

She had gained a reputation internally as a consummate survivor.

HP also said that two of its other executive vice-presidents – Pete Bocian, chief administrative officer, and Randy Mott, chief information officer – would leave the company, as it eliminated their positions and replaced them with a single executive with broader responsibilities.

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