Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) on Tuesday named NCR Corp. (NCR) Chief Executive Mark Hurd (search) to lead the No. 2 computer maker and replace Carly Fiorina (search), who was ousted in February.
HP said that Hurd, 48, will also serve as president of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company. Hurd will take up his new duties on April 1 and succeeds interim CEO and Chief Financial Officer Bob Wayman.
HP shares rose more than 7 percent after a report citing people familiar with the matter appeared on The Wall Street Journal Web site. NCR stock dropped over 14 percent.
NCR reversed declining fortunes under Hurd's leadership, but analysts said he was still considered a surprise choice, given the different size of the two companies.
Hurd was promoted to chief executive of NCR in March 2003 after a more than two-decade career starting in 1980. Over the years he served as NCR's president and chief operating officer and ran NCR's Teradata data warehousing business.
"While this is a huge stretch for Mark (in terms of the scale and size of HP), he is a very capable executive who did a great job with Teradata, part of NCR," said Bruce Richardson, senior vice president of AMR Research, adding Hurd was "very good in sales and marketing."
"(It's) a surprise pick, but one with high potential," Richardson added.
In many ways Hurd is the opposite of Fiorina, whose background was in marketing, analysts said.
"As the record very well demonstrates, there were some people at HP who were very troubled when Carly Fiorina came in because she was not an industry person," said Anthony Sabino, a professor of business and law at St. John's University.
"He is more of tech guy. He's from a well-established tech company. He's been through the wars."
His appointment caught people off guard though, as his name was not mentioned in the early weeks of speculation -- a rumor mill that tossed around candidates like MCI Inc. Chief Executive Mike Capellas and 3M Co. Chief Executive James McNerney, among many others.
When Hurd was named CEO in February 2003, NCR's revenues were declining and its stock price was languishing. Since then, the company's fortunes have reversed. Dayton, Ohio-based NCR in January posted fourth-quarter net income that rose 55 percent and sales that rose 9 percent to $1.79 billion.
Before Tuesday's drop, NCR shares had more than quadrupled in price during Hurd's tenure as CEO.
NCR is a far smaller company than HP, which has annual revenues of about $80 billion and more than 150,000 employees. But both firms are diversified companies with operations ranging across different industries.
A person quoted by the Wall Street Journal said Hurd "has run a mini HP."
HP faces stiff competition from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), the No. 1 computer maker, in high-end Unix computer servers and in computer services. At the lower end of the market, HP has lost market share to PC maker Dell Inc. (DELL), the world's largest personal computer maker.
HP's board asked for and received Fiorina's resignation in February after she failed to produce the profit growth she had promised in arguing for the controversial $19 billion acquisition of Compaq Computer Corp. She grew the company through that acquisition but subsequently failed to deliver consistent, profitable growth.
During Fiorina's rocky five-year tenure, HP's stock price declined by more than 50 percent and she oversaw the departure of a number of high-level executives, often to rivals such as data storage firm EMC Corp.