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Ann Livermore – Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ)


When Ann Livermore was only 12, she persuaded her father to teach her how to drive. Imagine that! There’s even car paint on the pole of a basket ball hoop to prove it! Even though Ann had diabetes as a child, she did not let it stop her from becoming a tennis doubles champion or captain of her high school basketball team. Not only was she known as one of her school’s best athletes, but also for her academic brilliance. She won a prestigious Jim Motley Morehead scholarship before heading off to college.

Ann’s older sister, who probably pestered Ann when they were young, says, “She’s always been a go-getter.” As a teenager Ann was involved in many high-risk adventures. She loved to come home and tell her family and friends all about her hair-raising experiences. This fearless nature later helped Ann increase HP’s software and services business 50% in just two years. When commenting on her exceptional success, HP’s former services chief, James Arthur, said, “She just makes things happen.”

When Ann first joined HP in 1982, she immediately began working her way up through the company’s computer services division. About ten years later she became the head of the division and was soon assisting the development of HP’s first internet strategy. This was far from her original dream of becoming a singer; even though truth be told her karaoke skills weren’t very good.

Today, Ann manages HP’s Technology Solutions Group, which is a $33+ billion business that ranges from storage and servers to software and services. While directing as the Executive Vice President, Anne is careful to tap into the abilities of her employees while still touching their hearts. She said, ”I learned that I’m a very, very well-controlled executive, but that my employees like when I go off the handle every once in a while–you know, show my human side.”

What are some recent developments with HP? Let’s take a look.

Positive Outlook: Just last month HP reported a net revenue growth of 13% from last year (8% when adjusted for inflation) and raised its full-year earnings outlook. The CEO Mark Hurd commented, “We are raising our guidance yet again, reflecting our confidence.” The Company added over 2,000 sales positions throughout 2007 and is poised for profitable growth.

Recent News: HP recently signed a huge $675 million contract with Unilever, a company they’ve worked with in the past. The contract will allow Unilever to focus on growing their business while HP manages and updates their computer network and optimizes the Company’s client services around the world. After the news was released, the stock price rose all day long before reaching its high-of-day 15 minutes before the closing bell.

Analyst Opinion: Although not all analysts covering HP believe it is a “Buy,” most of them do. 11 of the 27 analysts say it’s a “Strong Buy,” another 11 say it’s a “Buy,” 4 say it’s a “Hold,” and only one says it’s a “Sell.” The recent financial results and strong outlook put out by the company caused a few analysts to upgrade their price targets. Doug Reid of Thomas Weisel lifted his target from $51 to $54 and Andrew Neff of Bear Stearns upgraded his $68 price target to $70.

Bottom Line: Although HP has been making positive moves forward and is expecting a great year ahead, the U.S. consumer market is now more careful where it spends its money. Fortunately the company already saw this coming and has been busy expanding in a variety of markets. In fact, 69% of the sales for the latest quarter came from outside of U.S. borders. Even though the management made wise decisions to prepare for a slowdown in the U.S. economy, HP would still hurt if most U.S. customers weren’t able to continue buying their products.

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