Is there something Carly isn't telling us? Jeff Clarke's resignation is a shocker, and wasn't announced in a pretty way -- the press release described the resignation as "immediate" and "mutually agreed on and appropriate." (In most press releases announcing a departure, execs are usually given months to wrap things up and showered with paeans from their bosses.) Couple this with Susan Bowick and Webb McKinney's recent retirements (not to mention CIO Bob Napier's untimely death), and one has to wonder who's left to run the place. Clarke and McKinney developed the plan to wring $3 billion in savings out of the merged HP and Compaq, and Clarke's next task was to find another $1 billion in savings in the new company's supply chain.
Many believed that Clarke's latest job was a place to stash him while waiting for HP CFO Bob Wayman to resign. Clarke, Compaq's CFO for the merger, was a natural to replace him. But Clarke apparently got impatient, telling the Financial Times that the HP CFO spot "was the job I wanted and that position is not available." Wayman was invaluable during the bitter proxy fight before the merger, working the phones alongside Carly Fiorina to convince investors to vote for the deal. But Clarke, I'd argue, was more important for the company's future. It's a shame that HP lost him.