Is Meg Whitman up to running HP?

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

BY LARRY DIGNAN

 

Meg Whitman is allegedly a top pick to be Hewlett-Packard's next CEO, but the to-do list is massive and it's unclear whether swapping leaders will make that much of a difference.

The larger questions revolve around whether HP has a board of directors problem, a leadership issue, or a questionable master plan, assuming it still has one. Perhaps it's all of the above/

The to-do list for Whitman would go like this:

1. Decide what to do with the PC business. Should it stay or go?

2. Determine if HP's software strategy is correct and figure out if Autonomy is the right fit.

3. Fix the services business and move it to higher margin deals.

4. Figure out whether HP pulled the plug on the TouchPad too early.

5. Define HP.

But those are just the short-term items for HP. In the longer run, HP has to decide whether its recent issues are about the leadership--CEO Leo Apotheker wasn't up to snuff?--or about its plan to ditch PCs and bolster software and services. HP's board met yesterday but didn't pull the trigger on Apotheker. However, that vote of no confidence has already damaged HP and Apotheker. The company looks rudderless.

Read the rest of this column at CNET News.

 

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Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


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