Nice Work If You Can Get It

Oh to be the lucky headhunters at Russell Reynolds. They have landed the big search to replace Carly Fiorina at Hewlett Packard and all the prestige, pr and big fat retainer fees that go with it.

Not only that but the candidates long list has already been developed for them. So they don’t even have to burn their research budget.

Business journalists at Fortune, Forbes, as well as assorted industry watchers have been working overtime speculating as to who would be the best to replace Carly.

So in the interests of helping out our fellow recruiting brethren here is a list of the candidates most frequently mentioned by those who are watching.

Michael Capellas MCI; Capellas currently works at MCI however there is talk that MCI might be on the market and should it be acquired Capellas would be available

Capellas is so well liked in some circles that Merrill Lynch has publicly stated that he is their preferred candidate. Others aren’t so sure. You see Capellas is the former CEO of Compaq and was Fiorina’s partner in architecting the big merger. For some this suggests that HP’s board might not be too keen on Capellas since the merger has been such a collossal bust. BTW doesn't he look a little like Tony Sorpano?


John Joyce IBM; Joyce is Senior Vice President and Group Executive of IBM Global Services (IGS), the world's largest information technology services and consulting provider. An approximately $46.5 billion division of IBM Corporation, IGS has some 190,000 employees in over 160 countries..

Why is this good? Well HP considers itself as a computer services company like IBM and not just a printer company. One of the big albatrosses around HP’s neck right now is the underperformance of the services and enterprise groups (well actually only the Printer division is doing well). So what better way to fix it than to pluck someone out of the most successful company in the world in that area?

Sounds like a sensible choice to me. Also he looks like a real ass kicker.

And speaking of the printer division...
Vyomesh Joshi HP; Joshi runs HP's printer and PC divisions (now called the Imaging and Personal Systems Group,) and is generally held in high regard by employees and analysts. Selecting an in-house candidate would also allow HP to demonstrate consistency.

At the same time some feel that the Printer division could be successful no matter who was running it and may look for someone whith some proven turn around skills and who has run a global service operation (like Joyce).

On the other hand India Times practically has him in the job already.

James McNerney
W. James McNerney. GE; When you are looking for talent at the very top you have to find someone who is ready to move and if someone has been passed over for the top job at a company they are usually ripe for the plucking. McNerney “who lost out to Jeff Immelt at GE and has since 2001 been running tech-heavy 3M. An executive recruiter says McNerney fits the "best athlete" category—headhunter jargon for an executive capable of running almost anything because his innate abilities set him above the crowd.”

Sean Maloney Intel; If you can’t find someone who has been passed over looking for someone who is blocked is also a good choice. Mahoney is considered to be a rising star at Intel however he is second in line for the CEO role behind Paul Otellini so Maloney might be an ideal target. On the other hand Otellini will only serve as CEO for five years because of age so maybe Maloney will elect to stay put. He certainly looks happy. In fact a little too happy. I think he needs to project more toughness. I think a tattoo would help.

Ed Zander Motorola; Zander formerly was the head of Sun Microsystems and is well liked but he may not be interested in leaving Motorola where he has just begun to peak to go to HP where it would be a tough slog. And besides didn't he used to have mad crush on Buffy? No wait, that was another Zander.


Kevin Rollins
Dell Computer; Everyone wants this guy but the feeling is nothing can pull him out of Dell. Besides he has already said he doesn’t want the job. And he would probably want you to hire his brother Henry Rollins and that guy is nutty.

I don't know that there is a recipe that can turn it around," Rollins said in November. "I wouldn't go there first off. I wouldn't go run that one."

Yikes! How would you like to have a candidate who has already said on record that he doesn’t know that “there is a recipe that can turn it around”.

So there is your immediate short list. However there are more potentials beyond those "big" names. If you can't convince enough of these heavy hitters to take a sniff you could also try:

Steve Mills, SVP SW IBM;
Abby Kohnstamm, SVP Marketing IBM
Nick Donofrio, SVP Technology IBM
Doug Elix SVP Sales and Dist IBM

And when you get tired of calling through the IBM phone directory...

Ray Lane, former Oracle president,and Texas Instruments chairman Tom Engibous.

And if that doesn't work Forbes magazine suggests you try your luck at companies known for producing leaders. These talent factories include companies like IBM and GE but also include:

Johnson & Johnson
Procter and Gamble
Cisco Systems

So now that we have done all the work for you. Can we have half the fee??

Read more: Fortune; Forbes; ZDNet and previously on Canadian Headhunter: here and here

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