Mad Money

Hurd's Huge Turnaround of Hewlett-Packard

The unquantifiable matters, Cramer says, which is why he pays close attention to management when evaluating a stock – even though the Street doesn’t. The Street seems to be concerned with hard numbers only. But as Cramer points out, it’s subjective factors like management that let investors know the sales and earnings will be better than expected ahead of time.

So this week Cramer is highlighting the best CEOs in the business of turnarounds. Yesterday, we covered Fred Hassan of Schering-Plough, and today we’re talking about Hewlett-Packard’s Mark Hurd. Hurd took over for Carly Fiorina in 2005, and the stock price has more than doubled in that time. Cramer’s expecting it to go even higher.

HPQ seemed to go off track during Fiorina’s tenure, losing market share to Dell, lagging in the server business and waving good-bye to some of its best employees. The company frequently missed estimates, and it’s no surprise, Cramer says – Fiorina took the company away from its strengths by stressing marketing and sales at a company known for its science and engineering.

Hurd’s done the opposite: Hewlett-Packard is ahead of Dell, it’s back on focus, and it’s beating estimates. This might have been expected considering that over the nearly two years he ran NCR before jumping to HPQ, NCR’s stock returned about 316%. Cramer can’t promise that kind of return for Hewlett-Packard, but he’s confident there should be more Hurd-fueled upside for the company.

Bottom Line: Owning stocks with great leaders is its own reward because those stocks go higher. That’s why Cramer thinks Hewlett-Packard is a buy.

Jim’s charitable trust owns Hewlett-Packard.

Questions? Comments?