New HP CEO: Too Early to Consider HP Breakup

Mark Hurd (search), Hewlett-Packard Co.'s (HPQ) newly appointed chief executive, said Wednesday that it was too early to consider spinning off the firm's lucrative printer business, a move that many investors and analysts have advocated.

"I would prefer to analyze the situation ... before jumping to a conclusion like that," Hurd said on a conference call with financial analysts in response to a question.

Hurd also said he would not commit to a discrete time-frame in which to make a decision about significantly altering the structure of the world's No. 2 computer maker.

Asked to comment on possible job cuts at HP, Hurd, the former chief executive of NCR Corp. (NCR), who was named to the job on Tuesday, said he had no "preconceived notions of work force reductions."

During his tenure at NCR, Hurd, 48, reversed the company's fortunes in part by focusing on boosting margins and cutting costs, which included some job cuts.

Before becoming chief executive of NCR in March 2003, he was in charge of the company's Teradata data warehousing business.

"I would say that when I hear statements like spin off Teradata or spin off the printing business at HP is to interpret that as a shareholder value creation statement," Hurd said. He also said he was given "no preconditions" on strategy ahead of getting the job.

Patricia Dunn, HP's nonexecutive chairwoman, again reiterated that there was no requirement that the new CEO agree not to break up HP.

"There were no litmus tests on the strategy," Dunn said.

The majority of questions in the conference call, which lasted less than half an hour, related to a potential break-up of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company.

"I know there's really tremendous interest in this," Hurd said, chuckling in response to another question relating to the potential break-up of the company.