HP PCs 'n' printers boss steps down, replaced by Aussie

Just check that seat to see if it can be dropped into a furnace

HP has snatched the reins of its bogged-down global PC and printer biz from exec Todd Bradley, just a year after stitching the units together, as it struggles to compete in the mobile slablet world.

Confirmation came from HP HQ this afternoon that Bradley is being put out to pasture installed as exec veep for Strategy Growth initiatives and replaced by Brit Dion Weisler, a former UK MD at Acer and veep at Lenovo.

And there was us foolishly thinking that PCs and printers - worth $7.58bn in revenues in fiscal Q2 - was a key strategic growth area; perhaps not long term, but certainly in the current set up. Then again, a year ago that business was 20 per cent larger.

The “strategic growth” that CEO Meg Whitman refers to is the business in China and rebuilding broken channel relationships, although it is not clear why she feels Bradley is the man to lead this charge.

It was in his unit that HP frittered away once-valued relationships with loyal channel partners in favour of a direct PC sales strategy. This alienated many channel firms, driving them into the welcoming arms of Lenovo.

Whitman told HP channel partners at its worldwide partner conference in February that the company will not tolerate channel conflict in any form. This problem is far less evident in the enterprise business, where the mantra is to work with partners more effectively.

Whitman said today in a tinned statement:

"There is nothing more important to HP than our channel partners and the future of our business in China.

"I've asked Todd to use his experience to focus on these areas. I've also asked him to study the landscape of small companies and startups that could partner with HP to spur growth," she added.

Some of HP's channel partners don't seem to rate Bradley, claiming that he struggled to come up with a strategy to cut conflict, or to find a solution to the new world order in which tabs and smartphone sales have elevated firms such as Apple and Samsung to dominance.

Whitman reckons Bradley is "deeply familiar" with the global supply chain and HP's China business.

His replacement Weisler pitched up at HP in January 2012 and was made senior veep for HP PPS in Asia Pacific and Japan in the reorg last year. He will now report directly to Whitman.

In turn, Nick Lazaridis, currently chief operating officer in Asia-Pacific, is set to succeed Weisler as PPS head.

"Dion is one our very best executives and his background is perfect given the challenges we face in the marketplace," Whitman said.

None of the major classic PC makers are growing desktop or notebook revenues, with the exception of Lenovo, which is snapping at HP's heels.

Before HP, Weisler was COO for Lenovo's product and Mobile Internet Digital Homes Groups - so he may be able to work some of that magic at his current employer.

But outside of PCs, Weisler will also need to push out a credible smartphone for HP and build on the early interest in its Elite slabs and Envy ultrabooks.

When the device market is combined – smartphones, pads, desktops and notebooks – HP, the world's largest PC maker, sits in a sorry fourth position behind Apple, Samsung, and Lenovo, Canalys numbers show for Q1 2013.

Samsung shipped 82 million units worldwide, including 70 million smartphones, while Apple sold 61 million units including 37 million smartphones. HP, by contrast, sold just 12 million units. ®

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