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HP Faces 'Headwinds Heading Into 2012': Meg Whitman

Hewlett-Packard delivered higher-than expected earnings and revenue after the bell on Monday. But, HP's weak 2012 earnings forecast underscores that the technology giant is heading into a challenging year.

Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO
Source: AP
Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO

“I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to turn this around, but we have some real headwinds going into 2012, and that’s why I felt it was prudent to guide conservatively and lay out for the investor community the challenges that this company is facing," Meg Whitman, president and CEO of HP, told CNBC Tuesday.

Whitman was named the new CEO of Hewlett-Packard on Sept. 22, replacing the unpopular leader Leo Apotheker.

Whitman also said there is some “hangover” from the tough year that the largest U.S. technology company had in 2011. “What we saw in 2011 was the consumer was weak for us throughout the year, and then the commercial market started weakening in Q3 and Q4 — and Q4 was worse then Q3.”

“We’ll still feel some of the effects I think in the beginning of 2012,” she added.

Although revenue is important, Whitman said "in the near-term the thing [HP] has to do is deliver earnings. The investor community has lost confidence in our ability to predict and deliver EPS [earnings per share], and I want to focus on that."

In addition, she pointed out that there are three things challenging about 2012 for the company. "One, is the macro economic headwinds, things are not good in Europe; I’m worried about the United States’ economy; but we got some real challenges in our businesses as well that we have to work through in 2012."

“And don’t forget of course about Thailand flooding. That’s going to have an effect on the entire industry," she added.

It's been two months since the former eBay CEO took over the helm at Hewlett-Packard. "It was a tough year in 2011 for HP. We got some rebuilding to do. Each of our businesses faces challenges and so we got to improve our execution and get back to the business of business," stressed Whitman.

"On the bright side, listen we have fantastic people at HP. We're number one or number two on all our major lines of business. We are the largest information technology company in the world," she added.

"I'd like to get HP out of the headlines for drama events and get back in the headlines for delivering good results," Whitman concluded.

Follow Gennine Kelly on Twitter: @gkellycnbc

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