HP skipped over Ann Livermore, a 17-year HP veteran, to pick Fiorina, a Lucent Technologies executive. Most industry watchers expected HP to pick an insider who was familiar with the company's culture and management style to guide the company which until recently had been a slumbering giant.
HP is embroiled in a massive restructuring involving the spin-off of its test and measurement operations and is rushing to make itself a relevant player in the Internet arena.
Fiorina, 44, was president of Lucent Technologies' Global Service Provider Business, Lucent's largest and fastest-growing division, with more than $20 billion in annual revenue. She will also join the HP board of directors.
Platt, 58, will remain chairman until December 31, by which time HP's computing and imaging businesses are expected to be independent of its measurement businesses.
Upon Platt's retirement, Richard Hackborn, 60, a former HP executive and a current member of the board of directors, has agreed to become nonexecutive chairman.
Fiorina, who was recently named by Fortune as the most powerful woman in American business, brings to HP nearly 20 years of broad technology and telecommunications experience at Lucent and AT&T.
During the past two years at Lucent, her Global Services division increased its growth rate, rapidly expanded its international revenues, and gained market share in every region across every product line, according to HP.
"I am delighted and deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead one of the most respected companies in the world--and I will strive to strike the right balance between reinforcing HP's values and working to reinvent its businesses," Fiorina said in a statement.
Previously, she spearheaded the planning and execution of Lucent's 1996 initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T, one of the largest and most successful IPOs ever, HP said.
Fiorina has a bachelor's degree in medieval history and philosophy from Stanford University and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Maryland at College Park. Fiorina also has a master of science degree from MIT's Sloan School.
"[Fiorina] brings to HP an extraordinary and rare ability to conceptualize and champion clear business strategies while staying focused on achieving operational results," said Sam Ginn in a statement, a member of HP's board of directors, who led the search committee. "She has an exceptional track record of accelerating growth in large technology businesses and building organizations that distinguish themselves in tough, competitive environments."
During the remainder of his tenure at HP, Platt will oversee the separation of the measurement businesses from HP's computing and imaging businesses.