NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- There were plenty of naysayers when Meg Whitman took the reins of seriously troubled HP (HPQ) last year but the former eBay (EBAY) chief is now quietly answering her critics by making decisive moves aimed at getting the tech giant back on track.
HP shares climbed more than 3% to $21.78 on Thursday as investors responded to the firm's strong second-quarter results, released late on Wednesday. The no. 1 PC maker successfully side-stepped the weakness cited by rivals Dell (DELL) and Cisco (CSCO), casting Whitman in a positive light.
|HP CEO Meg Whitman is HP's unlikely turnaround star.|
Already a Silicon Valley star thanks to her time at eBay, there were nonetheless some raised eyebrows when Whitman was chosen to replace ousted HP CEO Leo Apotheker in September. In particular, critics questioned Whitman's credentials for leading a company of HP's vast size and complexity, citing her lack of enterprise IT and supply chain expertise.
Since then, however, Whitman has proved her leadership skills as HP begins to distance itself from the brief but turbulent Apotheker era. Crucially, the new CEO quickly nixed Apotheker's contentious plan for a possible PC spinoff, and also won plaudits for HP's support ARM's (ARMH) low-power chips.Whereas her predecessor left investors scratching their heads about HP's strategic direction, Whitman has cut a decisive figure. Last year, for example, the CEO opted to open source the acclaimed webOS operating system, seen as a shrewd bid to resurrect webOS technology. More recently, she took the bold move of merging the company's PC and printer divisions in an attempt to combat falling hardware sales. Whitman is also willing to make tough personnel decisions, as evidenced by this week's announcement that the Dow component is cutting 27,000 jobs, 8% of its total workforce. "We're introducing a lot of change, which is absolutely necessary to turn HP round," she explained, during a CNBC interview on Thursday. "We have a clear, focused strategy for the company, we have a clear, focused strategy for each of our operating groups." Key areas of focus include the company's HP's under-performing printer business and the Autonomy software acquisition, which needs to scale up, according to the CEO. Whitman, who can often be seen eating lunch amongst employees at the cafeteria in HP's HQ, has also performed well during public appearances. On TV, in particular, the HP leader has come across as composed and totally in control of the company's revamp.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV