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HP's CEO Decision Conundrum

Bernstein Research's Toni Sacconaghi, who always asks the best questions on any conference call, did so again with Hewlett Packard.

Hewlett Packard
AP
Hewlett Packard

He asked why there was no interim CEO and (in not so many words) whether the board is dysfunctional.

Chairman Ray Lane danced around the first question and (I'm paraphrasing, when it comes to the second question) insisted it isn't.

Sacconaghi's take, in his report to clients: "We view the lack of a comprehensive search of internal/external candidates for a permanent CEO role as unsatisfactory and unnecessary haste."

I personally wonder if this causes some of the internal candidates, whom Lane yesterday said "were not ready" to be CEO, to leave. (Depends, some would argue, on how vested their options are!)

Bottom line, from one of my best Silicon Valley insiders: Meg Whitmanwill be the equivalent of a "cub scout den mother" and let the division heads run things.

Sacconaghi's bottom line: HP is a "show-me" story with upside if/when the right catalyst comes along. His target $37.

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