A underplayed release out of Hewlett Packard (HPQ) this morning deserves a little more attention than it’s getting. HP, fresh off another killer quarter, named two new directors, entrepreneur Joel Hyatt and John Joyce, a former CFO of IBM (IBM) and currently a partner at the tech buyout shop Silver Lake. (Inside baseball alert: Note that Silver Lake is quietly but significantly dropping the “Partners” from its name. More on that another time.)
It’s been less than a year since the spying scandal at HP revealed the machinations of one of the most ridiculously messed up boards in the Fortune 500. After some months of effort it’s clear that HP CEO Mark Hurd finally has done something about that. Hyatt is a CEO, so he joins Wachovia (WB) CEO and HP board member Ken Thompson in adding that level of experience. (As a former political candidate and business partner of Al Gore, he also brings a little Democratic juice to an historically Republican company.) Landing Joyce is a huge coup. Even though he’s been out of IBM for two years, he’s got to have great insight into how HP’s arch-competitor ticks.
The HP turnaround story, for all its drama, is really extraordinary. The stock traded midday Friday at around $45.50. It seems like only yesterday that HP traded for $23 a share. Okay, it was two years ago, and read this if you’d like to join me as I pat myself on the back for calling it.