Outgoing Hewlett-Packard managing director Russell Hewitt believes his temporary replacement, Simon Tong, could well become permanent.
Hewitt is leaving HP for Vodafone Australia, where from Sydney he will run the company's entire "market-facing sales organisation", which has recently undergone a major reorganisation.
"[Vodafone Australia CEO] Grahame Maher called me up and offered me the job. It's come at just the right time in my life."
Hewitt says professionally he's ready for a change after completing the merger of HP and Compaq.
"We blew away all our goals for the year. We've completed the merger and got a lot of momentum going from that and it's a good time to take stock of where we're at."
Hewitt will stay with HP until the end of February. Simon Tong, head of HP's services division in New Zealand, will act as interim managing director until a permanent appointment is made.
"Simon's a good choice as he provides certainty and continuity with the staff, channel partners and resellers alike. They can go through the next few months without too much stress and then decide from there whether he wants to go on or search the market from there."
Tong's services division accounts for around 70% -- or 400 -- of HP New Zealand's headcount.
"I'll be around until March, but they'll have a 'go-to' person here right away, which is good."
Hewitt believes the services side of the business is critical to HP's success.
"It's an important part of the business. It represents a good chunk of the business and as you go forward it's critical."
Hewitt was appointed head of Compaq New Zealand in 1999. Before that he served as chief executive of integrator Computerland New Zealand and held several roles within IBM. He took over as head of HP New Zealand in May 2002.