Postcards

How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Meg Whitman on easing HP's "post-traumatic stress"

November 21, 2011: 2:09 PM ET

Meg Whitman's first report card as CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) comes this afternoon when the company announces fourth-quarter earnings.

In the 60 days since she took the job, Whitman has settled on a strategy (keep HP in the PC business), worked to raise employee morale (terrible after three CEO ousters), and lifted the stock (up 12% since her appointment). But the former eBay (EBAY) chief, who lost her race for governor of California a year ago, has an enormous challenge ahead in reviving America's largest technology company.

"There is a bit of post-traumatic stress syndrome in the organization," she admitted at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit early last month, just days after she began the HP job. In a candid interview with Nina Easton, Fortune's Washington editor, Whitman compared HP to California--surprisingly, almost the same size by several key measures. But Whitman feels a lot more comfortable in one realm than the other, as she told us at the Summit.

Click here for the full transcript of the interview with Whitman at the MPW Summit.

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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