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HP replaces three senior executives

Company follows up on promise of "immediate management changes" after disappointing earnings report, CNET News.com has learned.

Following through on a promise to shake up management after disappointing earnings, Hewlett-Packard on Thursday replaced three top executives.

In a memo to employees, seen by CNET News.com, HP said Peter Blackmore, head of enterprise sales, would be replaced by Mike Winkler, who is currently the company's chief marketing officer. Winkler will also retain his present duties, HP said.

HP also said former services executive Jack Novia will replace Jim Milton as senior vice president and managing director for the Americas region of HP's enterprise sales unit, known as the Customer Solutions Group. Novia had served most recently as a senior VP in the HP unit that covers enterprise gear and services.

Finally, HP said it will replace Kasper Rorsted, the head of the CSG in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Rorsted will be replaced by Bernard Meric, who has headed up HP's imaging and printing unit in that region.

"We thank Peter, Jim and Kasper for their years of service and dedication," CEO Carly Fiorina said in the memo. "I look forward to working with our new CSG leaders."

Earlier Thursday, Hewlett-Packard said that its most recent quarter's earnings missed estimates because of weak performance in storage and servers. Fiorina promised that there would be "immediate management changes."

Analysts noted that HP's problems appeared to be company-specific and not related to industrywide problems.

"Given the technology that they have in their portfolio and the engineering talents that they have, there aren't a lot of excuses for being where they are," said IDC analyst John McArthur. "They should have done better."

Competitor IBM said it is seeing healthy demand, suggesting HP's woes were the result of execution problems.

All three executives who were ousted came from premerger Compaq Computer.

Blackmore had been Compaq's executive vice president of Sales and Services prior to the merger with HP. He initially was head of the enterprise systems unit, but was put in charge of sales in a reorganization first announced last year that combined enterprise gear and services under Ann Livermore.

Winkler, an HP executive vice president who also comes from the Compaq side, headed HP's operations effort prior to being given the top marketing spot. Prior to the merger, he was Compaq's executive vice president of global business units, responsible for servers and storage, among other responsibilities.

McArthur said he thinks HP has the ability to turn things around.

"They've got enough (intellectual property); they've got enough market reach," he said. "I wouldn't write them off, but they need to fix some things."