Split shows turnaround a success: HP CEO Whitman

Meg Whitman

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman said the company's plans to split in two is only possible because its turnaround plan has succeeded.

"We had to gather ourselves as one HP, but now we're in the position to take advantage of what's going on in the marketplace and position these two companies for growth," she said. "They go after quite different market segments, and we now have the opportunity to align rewards and results, to respond to customer needs faster with these two big companies."

She spoke hours after HP announced that it will separate its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware and services operations.

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"I think it's going to be better offerings for customers and partners, career opportunities for employees, and we believe it will create real shareholder value," she said.

Shares of HP traded higher following the announcement. (Get the latest quote here.)

Appearing on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street," she said the plan to split the company was not appropriate when she first joined the company.

When asked why HP is announcing the split now, she said HP's leadership needed to get the company into "fighting shape" to "compete in the new world order." Now in year three of the turnaround, HP is now able to move on to the next phase of its five-year plan, she said. "Today is only possible because the turnaround has succeeded."

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"We think this is the best tactic to continue to this turnaround journey and position HP into two great new companies that are real scale and have a real chance to make a real difference on a go-forward business," Whitman said.

Whitman denied the suggestion that the announcement was in any way tied to the fact that the company is indicating fiscal year 2015 will see revenue remain flat versus 2014, despite her previously stated plan to see acceleration throughout the period. Instead, the CEO insisted that the decision is focused on the long-term futures of both businesses.

When asked about the possibility of future layoffs-HP has already announced 55,000 in its current round of restructuring-Whitman said there may be "even more opportunity for efficiency" after advances in the company's IT processes. More layoffs may also come from the corporate split, she said.

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"When you split companies apart ... often there is again a realignment of the workforce, but we'll see how it goes," Whitman said.

But as these new companies seek to realize new efficiencies, there may also be some dis-synergies arising from the split. Whitman said she is not worried about problems associated with loss of brand clout-the consumer-facing businesses are staying together under the HP moniker-but that there may be some real costs associated with the move.

Supply chain issues may arise, but Whitman said these will largely be mitigated by an agreement between the two companies. The largest dis-synergies, she said, will be associated with IT and revenue.

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