NEW YORK (
) -- There were plenty of naysayers when Meg Whitman took the reins of seriously troubled
(HPQ - Get Report)
last year but the former
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
, released late on Wednesday. The no. 1 PC maker successfully side-stepped the weakness cited by rivals
(CSCO - Get Report)
, 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
ousted HP CEO Leo Apotheker in September. In particular, critics
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
Apotheker's contentious plan for a possible PC spinoff, and also won plaudits for HP's
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
operating system, seen as a shrewd bid to resurrect webOS technology. More recently, she took the
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
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
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.