Will This Reshuffle Help Hewlett-Packard’s Comeback?

hewlett-packard_logo_2512Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) has named Todd Bradley, head of its printing and personal computer business, to the newly created position of executive vice president of strategic growth initiatives.

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In the new position, Bradley will work with Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman on improving relations with China, as well as channel partner relations. He has also been charged with the task of helping Whitman form partnerships with early-stage companies that can help fuel HP’s own growth, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“There’s nothing more important to H-P than our channel partners and the future of our business in China,” said Ms. Whitman. “I’ve asked Todd to use his expertise to focus on these areas. I’ve also asked him to study the landscape of small companies and startups that could partner with H-P to spur growth.”

Some are choosing to see Bradley’s new job a demotion, which is made all the more intriguing by the fact that Bradley had been mentioned on the short list of candidates that Carl Icahn wanted to run Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), should he outbid Michael Dell and prevent him from taking the struggling company private.

Dion Weisler, HP’s Asia-region executive, will move into Bradley’s job. Additionally Weisler, who has 23 years of experience in the information technology industry, will become a member of the company’s executive board.

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HP is in the middle of a transformation. The company has had three CEOs since 2010 and unveiled a huge reorganization plan to fold its printing business into its PC-making personal systems group.

Clearly Asia is a crucial target for all tech companies, but it may be most important for HP, which made a huge misstep, or rather, failed to take a step at all, when it sat on the sidelines while the tablet and smartphone industries took off. But Asia’s huge growth potential gives HP an opportunity to rectify that.

Nearly half the population in China is without Internet. If Bradley can find a way to tap into that group, he can reestablish his name as a leading CEO-candidate.

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