Hewlett-Packard is splitting into two companies, one of which will focus on enterprise technology, while the other continues to sell PCs and printers.
HP CEO Meg Whitman believes that two smaller companies will prove more innovative and flexible than a lumbering giant composed of many divisions. “We will be in an even better position to compete in the market, support our customers and partners, and deliver maximum value to our shareholders,” she wrote in one of those standard-issue statements that chief executives produce at such moments.
For the thousands of people who work at HP—more than 317,000 in 170 countries, as of earlier this year—the decision to cleave the company in two will have massive repercussions. Whitman and her executives will cut another 5,000 jobs, adding to the 55,000 layoffs under her tenure. That’s liable to make more than a few employees nervous. Those whose jobs straddle the enterprise and consumer segments could also face a great deal of uncertainty over coming months, even if they get to keep their positions.
For those who still want to work at HP, chances are pretty good that the new, reorganized companies will eventually need people on both the hardware and software side of the equation. At least in the short term, Dice’s advice on scoring a job at HP will probably stand you in good stead. HP has long prided itself on its corporate culture, and the new companies will likely continue to do so—although as the years pass, how those respective cultures evolve remains to be seen.
The irony of this situation is that HP already made an aborted attempt to divest itself of its PC-manufacturing division—which would have effectively split the company in two—during the brief and unlamented reign of then-CEO Leo Apotheker. He served for a mere ten months before the board of directors, spooked by his rapid decision-making, decided to replace him with Whitman in September 2011.
At the time, Apotheker’s strategy was dismissed as idiotic; now HP sees it as the way of the future. It’s also questionable whether some out-there HP initiatives, such as “The Machine,” will survive the transition.
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