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Storage Chief Eyeing HP Hot Seat: Report

PALO ALTO, Calif. ( TheStreet) -- Hewlett-Packard's (HPQ - Get Report) storage chief Dave Donatelli is making a play for the company's CEO role, according to a published media report.

Citing an unnamed source, the New York Post reports that Donatelli is eyeing the HP hot seat, vacant since the departure of Mark Hurd following an expenses scandal earlier this month.

Donatelli joined HP from storage giant EMC (EMC - Get Report) in 2009, where he had been touted as a possible successor to the storage giant's CEO, Joe Tucci. As executive vice president and general manager of HP's Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking (ESSN) division, Donatelli is at the forefront of the company's push into corporate data centers. The executive is also playing a major role in HP's bidding war with Dell(DELL) over storage specialist 3Par(PAR - Get Report).

3Par said late Friday that it had accepted HP's raised bid of $30 a share, or $2 billion, although Dell is reportedly considering a counter-bid, continuing the tug-of-war between the two companies. Dell kicked off the tussle in mid-August, when it offered $18 share, or $1.15 billion, for the virtualization specialist.

There has been intense speculation about who will succeed Mark Hurd. Cathie Lesjak, the company's CFO and interim CEO, has assured investors that she won't be taking the executive position for the long term, and speculators' guesses are divided on whether H-P will promote one of its own or look elsewhere for a heavy-hitter.

Within HP, Ann Livermore, head of the company's $54 billion enterprise business, has been mentioned as a potential Hurd successor, as has Todd Bradley, the VP who runs HP's personal computer business. Bradley, who most recently oversaw the acquisition of Palm, was key in pushing the company's PC business to market leader status, ahead of rivals like Dell.

There also has been speculation linking IBM (IBM - Get Report) software chief Steve Mills and Cisco (CSCO - Get Report) executive Ned Hooper with the HP job, although both are allegedly being groomed to take the top spots at their current companies.

Apple (AAPL - Get Report) COO Tim Cook is another name that has been mentioned, a move that would give H-P an immediate perception of innovation, something it needs if it's going to push forward significantly in the mobile and tablet device markets.

The New York Post also reports that former Compaq chief Michael Capellas is considered to be in the running for the HP CEO role. Capellas stepped down as CEO of credit card processing specialist First Data Corp. earlier this year to take on an advisory role at parent company KKR (KKR - Get Report).

HP has not yet responded to TheStreet's request for comment on this story.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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