Interim HP boss upbeat on 2011 numbers, defends strategy

Hewlett-Packard's interim boss, Cathie Lesjak, has told analysts that the firm expects to make total sales of between $131.5bn and $133.5bn during its financial 2011. This represents approximately 7% year-on-year growth over its forecast full year 2010 results, which will be releasedin November

Hewlett-Packard's interim boss, Cathie Lesjak, has told analysts that the firm expects to make total sales of between $131.5bn and $133.5bn during its financial 2011.

This represents approximately 7% year-on-year growth over its forecast full year 2010 results, which will be released in November, and reflects a growing sense of confidence in the market.

Speaking at HP's annual analyst knees-up, Lesjak, who has held the post of interim CEO since Mark Hurd's resignation, said HP was scoping out a number of potential candidates to fill the role, but gave no indication of when the firm might come to a decision.

The post has been variously linked with Apple's COO Tim Cook - who denied any interest yesterday - while HP's own technology services head Anne Livermore and ESSN boss Dave Donatelli, among others, have also been discussed.

Lesjak also defended HP's current M&A strategy - it has invested heavily in acquisitions since Hurd's departure, most notably paying over $2bn for storage vendor 3Par.

HP had been criticised by IBM's Sam Palmisano for ignoring R&D spend in favour of making big acquisitions, but Lesjak insisted that "innovation will continue to be at the core of Hewlett-Packard".

Meanwhile, PSG boss Todd Bradley let slip yesterday that the vendor is close to releasing a WebOS powered tablet called the PalmPad, which will compete with a growing stable of offerings from firms such as Apple and RIM.

The new device is scheduled to be launched early in calendar 2011.

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