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HP CEO: company will struggle to be profitable in 2013, stocks near a nine-year low

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Embattled CEO Meg Whitman blames high executive turnover for the slow recovery

Meg Whitman HP (Verge original image)
Meg Whitman HP (Verge original image)

It's been just over a year since Meg Whitman took over as CEO with hopes of turning the struggling company around, and so far the results haven't gone as hoped. According to Reuters, Whitman said at HP's annual investor meeting that it will take until 2014 for the company's turnaround to become visible, and as such the company will struggle to be profitable over the next year. Along with this news, HP's stock price has dropped 10 percent as of this writing and sits near a nine-year low point. Whitman pointed to lack of clarity around the company's strategy as well as heavy executive turnover for the company's struggles, saying "the single biggest challenge facing Hewlett-Packard has been changes in CEOs and executive leadership, which has caused multiple inconsistent strategic choices, and frankly some significant executional miscues."

It's hard to argue with Whitman — over the last few years, we've seen a large amount of executive turmoil, highlighted by former CEO Leo Apotheker's firing last fall. That change itself followed the dismissal of CEO Mark Hurd for an ethics scandal involving some expense reporting. As for the strategic choices, who can forget HP's purchase and subsequent dismantling of Palm and WebOS, a move that cost the company billions of dollars. It's a move that seems exceptionally rash in hindsight, with Whitman recently saying that HP will "have to ultimately offer a smartphone." While much of that turmoil has been in the rear-view mirror for many months now, it seems the lasting effects will continue to hurt HP for months to come.