HP Personal Systems Prez Coughlin Departs, Succeeded By Commercial PC Head


HP Inc. announced Wednesday that Ron Coughlin is departing as president of the company's personal systems business.

Coughlin, who had been with HP since 2007, will take over as CEO of Petco, the privately held pet retailer based in San Diego, on June 18.

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Coughlin is being succeeded, "effective immediately," by Alex Cho, who had been serving as vice president and general manager of HP's commercial PC business group, HP said.

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Cho has worked at HP since 1995, and has held senior roles in the company's PC, print and services businesses, the company said. He has overseen the company's commercial PC business since 2014, and that business has seen four straight quarters of double-digit growth.

Cho "is uniquely qualified to lead personal systems into its next phase of reinvention," HP CEO Dion Weisler said in a news release. "He brings deep business, product and security experience and a long track record of success to the role and will continue our focus on creating customer experiences that amaze."

HP's fiscal second quarter, which ended April 30, marked the sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth for the personal systems division. The segment generated revenue of $33.37 billion in fiscal 2017.

Weisler added that he is "grateful to [Coughlin] for his steady leadership and countless contributions to HP." In November 2014, HP combined its consumer and business personal systems groups under Coughlin's leadership. Coughlin went on to oversee the re-fashioning of HP's PC lineup to focus on the high-end, premium market.

"The team and the capabilities Ron has built will benefit our business for years to come. We wish him the very best as he begins a new chapter in his career," Weisler said.

Mike Hadley, CEO of iCorps Technologies, a Boston-based partner of HP, said it's notable that Coughlin chose to move to a company outside of tech. "Usually when you do that, it's like you've 'had enough' of it [in the tech industry]. I think everyone in this world can relate to that sometimes," Hadley said.

As for Coughlin's successor, Hadley said it's a wise move for HP to choose an internal candidate at a time when the growth in the PC division has been so strong.

"It looks like Alex Cho is a great choice. He's been there for 23 years, and it looks like he might've played a big role in their recent success," Hadley said. "That to me seems like a good move -- to keep the pedal to the metal, to keep things moving in the right direction."

HP held the top spot on worldwide PC market share during the first three months of the year, with 20.8 percent of PC sales, and finished No. 2 behind Dell in U.S. market share with 28.4 percent, according to research firm Gartner.