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High Hopes in Palo Alto

Brace yourselves, folks. Mark Hurd, who earned a reputation for tough leadership during his time at NCR Corp., looks set to deliver more of the same as Carly Fiorinas successor at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ). (See It's Hurd for HP and HP CEO Steps Down.)

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based firm last night announced its new CEO, quickly bringing to a close a search process that can often drag on for many months. And with HP undergoing a business unit revamp, board members were keen to get an experienced CEO on board.

As the appointment came as no surprise -- Hurd had been widely tipped to fill Fiorina’s shoes -- the news was met with indifference by the markets, with HP's share price dipping slightly, by just 5 cents, to $21.73 in late morning trading.

In a conference call to introduce the new CEO this morning, HP board director Patricia Dunn praised Hurd’s “direct, open style,” which seems a polite way of saying that Hurd is set to shake things up and ruffle some feathers.

With that reputation in mind, analysts on the call were keen to know whether Hurd would be replicating the robust, results-driven style of management that characterized his time running NCR’s Teradata business unit.

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