Compaq exec to run post-merger HP Asia

Paul Chan has edged out his Hewlett-Packard counterpart to head the merged company's operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

4 min read
SINGAPORE--Compaq Computer's Paul Chan has edged out his Hewlett-Packard counterpart to head the merged company's operations in the Asia-Pacific region.

See special coverage: A Fight to the Finish Chan will assume the role of regional general manager for HP, with the additional responsibility of running the company's enterprise business in the region. He will report to Peter Blackmore, executive vice president for the Enterprise Systems Group.

Chan, 48, is currently Compaq Asia-Pacific vice president and managing director. Siaou-Sze Lien, his counterpart at HP, will move to a separate division.

Lien, 54, will manage the services unit in the Asia-Pacific and report to Ann Livermore, HP Services executive vice president.

A Compaq Asia-Pacific representative confirmed the appointments, saying that further details will be provided at a later date. "We look forward to announcing the country management in the next few weeks prior to the launch (of the new entity)," the representative said.

"I am not too surprised by this result," said Kitty Fok, IDC Asia-Pacific research director for Personal Systems. "Paul Chan has done a very good job for the past few years."

In the first half of 2001, Compaq recorded revenues of $5.4 billion in the Asia-Pacific region compared with HP's $3.6 billion.

Both Chan and Lien are well-respected in the information technology industry.

"Both are very capable and have had many years of experience in IT," said Dane Anderson, IDC Asia-Pacific vice president for Internet & Computing Systems Research. "They will have no problem fitting into their new roles."

Prior to joining Compaq in 1995, Chan spent 17 years with HP, where he held a number of senior management positions. Lien, also an HP veteran, began her career with the company in 1978 as a systems engineer.

Trying to merge right
On Sept. 4, HP said it would acquire Compaq in a stock swap, then worth about $25 billion.

On Wednesday, HP named 150 post-merger senior executives for its global operations.

Carly Fiorina, the chairman and chief executive of HP, will become the new company's chairman and CEO, while Compaq Chairman and CEO Michael Capellas will become president of the new entity.

IMAGE TEXT HERE The combined companies will be organized around four operating units: an Imaging and Printing Group led by Vyomesh Joshi, now president of Imaging and Printing Systems for HP; a Personal Systems Group led by Duane Zitzner, now president of Computing Systems for HP; Blackmore's Enterprise Systems Group and Livermore's services business.

The Imaging and Printing division will be managed by HP's Michael Hoffman; the Printing Systems division will be managed by Adrian Koch.

Revenue and market share were determining factors for the selection of the executives and product lines. "There are overlaps in industry-standard servers, PCs and Unix servers. We will be adopting the more successful product set," Jeff Clarke, Compaq chief financial officer and co-chair of the integration team, told CNET News.com last week.

Compaq shareholders have approved the acquisition, but the final results could take several weeks as HP votes are tabulated.

Some employees feeling "trapped"
Understandably, employees from both sides are getting increasingly agitated and frustrated. "I feel trapped," said one HP sales executive based in Kuala Lumpur. "They (management) tell us it's business as usual and Compaq is still a competitor, but how can we concentrate with all this uncertainty?"

He said most customers are adopting a "wait-and-see" attitude where "they tell us to wait but (go) see our competitors instead."

In Malaysia, HP and Compaq have approximately 300 employees each. HP's management team will meet Kuala Lumpur-based employees Friday to explain the regional executive appointments and the company's next course of action.

Compaq's operations in the region are made up of three segments: the Asia-Pacific led by Chan, Greater China headed by Philip Yu, and Japan helmed by Hajime Takayanagi. For HP, the entire region is solely under the leadership of Lien.

With the new organization, Japan will operate as a separate entity, co-chaired by Compaq's Takayanagi and Masao Terazawa of HP.

HP is regionally headquartered in Hong Kong although most of its management team, including Lien, is based in Singapore. For Compaq, the Asia-Pacific is run out of Singapore, and according to the Compaq representative, the island state will be used as HP's Asia-Pacific base.

In the coming weeks, both companies are expected to reveal which employees will stay following the merger. Sources said most Asia-Pacific-level announcements are expected this week, followed by the various country managers.

The next hot seat is Southeast Asia, with contenders Tan Choon Seng, Compaq vice president and managing director, and Chia Wee Boon, HP managing director, vying for that spot.

Both companies have said they plan to cut, on a global basis, 15,000 jobs shortly after the deal is completed. HP has 14,000 employees in the Asia-Pacific against Compaq's approximately 5,000.

HP has manufacturing plants in Singapore, Japan and China, while Compaq has similar facilities in Australia, India and Singapore.

Fran Foo reported from Singapore.