Whitman asks for patience as HP sales slide

23 Feb 2012
HP

HP CEO Meg Whitman says not to expect a quick turnaround at HP

HP's CEO Meg Whitman said it will take time for the company to recover as it posted a 44% fall in earnings.

HP posted quarterly sales fell 7% to $30 billion, with declines in three of its key units: personal computers, printers and enterprise equipment. HP reported net income of $1.47 billion for the quarter, down from $2.6 billion a year earlier.

Whitman, who took the top job last September after the firing of Leo Apotheker, has been trying to turn around HP's sprawling businesses.

"If you look at business history and you look at companies which have gone through the kind of turnaround that we're leading HP through right now, these things are not quick," she said, adding it could anywhere from two to five years.

It took us a while to get into the situation in which we find ourselves. It's going to take us a little while to get out

"It took us a while to get into the situation in which we find ourselves. It's going to take us a little while to get out."

Last year was a turbulent one for the company, marked by strategy flip-flops, executive churn and the ouster of Apotheker after less than a year in the top job.

No bright spots

Sales from the personal systems group, encompassing PCs, declined 15%, which executives blamed partly on a persistent shortage of hard drives globally - the result of flooding last year in Thailand.

Revenue from its bread-and-better printing group - which Whitman called the "lifeblood" of the company - fell 7%, hurt by weak consumer demand as the US economy continued to struggle.

Even sales of enterprise servers, storage and networking equipment - usually a bright point for HP - fell 10%.

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