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Old 10-04-12, 04:10 PM   #1
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Post HP CEO: We're screwed (for the next few years)

Meg Whitman, HP's CEO, describes the magnitude of previous leadership's screw-ups to analysts.

Yesterday, as President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney were preparing to debate how to fix the country's economic mess, Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman was delivering a stunning confessional speech at HP's analyst briefing day, describing how bad things were at HP and making promises to fix them. She projected that the company would continue its headlong plunge in profits for at least another year'with a full rebound not in sight until 2016.

Showing shades of her previous political aspirations, Whitman liberally mixed metaphors to describe her awakening to just how screwed HP was. "We all hope we can accelerate the timing of this journey, but as I see the challenges up close and personal, there are no silver bullets," she said. "It's going to take longer to right this ship than any of us would like."

Not all of HP's product lines, or the people who make them, will survive the "journey" Whitman outlined. There will be some serious pruning of HP's businesses, and a focus on automating more of manufacturing (and eliminating workers). And even with new products in the pipeline, Whitman said 2013 is going to be a "rebuilding year" as the company retools practically everything it does. "2014 will be the year you see real recovery and expansion," she promised. "The new products and services we've been working on will kick in big-time in 2014."

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