HP's latest exercise in futility

The company's board shake-up is akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic. It's just not going to help.

By Jim Cramer Jan 21, 2011 10:11AM
jim cramerPatricia Russo added to the Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) board? Well, for heaven's sake, why not just add Carly Fiorina, too, while we're at it. Is this company unimpressive or what?

It seems to me that Hewlett-Packard is shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic, trying to get the new guy, Leo Apotheker, a more agreeable team to work with. Either that or there is yet another back story that this once-pristine paragon of corporate governance just isn't telling anyone.

It's not the only thing that's difficult to fathom. Like what happened at Google (GOOG), where Eric Schmidt did such a terrific job as CEO before stepping aside to let Larry Page run the joint. Hey, Page founded it, he can run it for certain. I just hope Schmidt stays around to help do the job, unless, perhaps, he's moving to Washington, where he would be a fabulous addition to the Obama team.

But let's just spend a second talking about how ridiculous the addition of Russo is to the "house cleanup" at Hewlett-Packard. Russo famously helped run Lucent (LU) into the ground. She is one of the least capable CEOs, not just in America but in Europe, as she's managed to do a terrible job there, too. If that's Hewlett-Packard's idea of an upgrade, good grief.


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Hewlett-Packard, like its challenged friend Dell (DELL), has very little going for it in terms of growth. It's got a decent consulting business and a slow-growth printer business, but it and Dell have the most to lose in terms of the Apple (AAPL) iPad revolution. Changing the board isn't going to matter. Changing the culture back to innovation will.

Hewlett-Packard is a troubled company. No doubt it is cheap. I think it's just going to stay cheap. And last night's board shuffling, as massive and striking as it is, won't produce what Hewlett-Packard needs: dazzling new products that can grab the mobile Internet tsunami by the horns or dominate the cloud.

It's just not happening.

At the time of publication Cramer was long AAPL.

Jim Cramer is co-founder and chairman of TheStreet. He contributes daily market commentary for TheStreet's sites and serves as an adviser to the company's CEO.


Follow Cramer's trades for his Charitable Trust.

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Jan 21, 2011 11:48AM

HP needs more than new board members and they did not select the right CEO upon Hurd's departure.

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