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Report: HP chairman says former CEOs 'stifled innovation'

HP is still reeling from the mistakes of past CEOs, said Chairman Ray Lane in an interview with Reuters.

Hewlett-Packard's former CEOs did not invest enough, gutting innovation at the world's largest PC maker, according to a Reuters interview with chairman Ray Lane.

HP Chairman Ray Lane: former CEO Mark Hurd 'burned the furniture to please Wall Street.'
HP Chairman Ray Lane. He says former CEO Mark Hurd 'burned the furniture to please Wall Street.' Hewlett-Packard

HP's current CEO Leo Apotheker is paying for those mistakes, said Lane in the interview published yesterday.

"Mark Hurd did not invest," said Lane. "He burned the furniture to please Wall Street." The "serial cost-cutting" began with former CEO Carly Fiorina and continued with Mark Hurd, who succeeded Fiorina. This should change under Apotheker, according to Lane. "Leo is not that," Lane said, adding that Apotheker is focused on long-term growth.

Lane appears to be providing moral support for the new chief executive, who came to HP eight months ago after leaving business management software provider SAP, where he was CEO. Since then, HP's stock has fallen 11 percent.

HP has a complicated--some might say messy--past of swallowing large companies, like Compaq, whose $25 billion acquisition did not go well.

HP's buying binges are in stark contrast to its Silicon Valley neighbor Apple, which tends to make small, low-profile strategic acquisitions.