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* HP approached Mills, Rometty to replace oustedHurd-sources
* HP shares end up 2.2 pct; down 8 pct since Hurddeparture (adds details, bylines)
By Gabriel Madway and Ritsuko Ando
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK, Sept 29 (Reuters) - Hewlett-PackardCo made overtures to two senior executives from rival IBM inits search for a new chief executive, but was rebuffed,according to people familiar with the matter.
In the early stages of a closely watched CEO hunt, now intoits sixth week, HP reached out to Steve Mills, who leads IBM'ssoftware and systems group, according to two sources withknowledge of the approach.
Virginia Rometty, who oversees sales, marketing andstrategy for IBM and ranked by Fortune as being among America'smost powerful businesswomen, was also approached, one sourcesaid.
Executive search firm Spencer Stuart is leading the effortto replace Mark Hurd, who was popular with Wall Street butousted in an abrupt and controversial manner in August.
HP has said it was looking externally and internally forcandidates to helm the world's top technology company by sales,but the company is under some pressure to name a new chiefquickly to fill its leadership vacuum.
HP's board may be looking to attract a marquee name as itaims to convince investors it can drive future growth. But bothdeclined to be considered for the job, the sources toldReuters.
Representatives from HP and IBM declined to comment.
The HP's board's search committee is led by JohnHammergren, and includes directors Marc Andreessen, LaurenceBabbio Jr., and Joel Hyatt.
Leading internal candidates include Todd Bradley, who leadsHP's high-volume but low-margin PC division. He is viewed as astrong operational manager, but some board members are worriedabout his strategic vision, one source said.
The source added that others were concerned because Hurdhad been seen as major supporter of Bradley's, one of Hurd'sfirst hires when he came onboard in 2005.
Ann Livermore, the enterprise chief and 30-year HP veteranwhose name has been floated also for the CEO job, is seen as aless likely candidate. She was passed over twice for the topjob, which went to first Carly Fiorina in 1999 and then Hurd.
And analysts say Dave Donatelli, who runs HP's servers,storage and networking business, is considered a rising star atHP but may not yet be experienced enough to run the entirecompany.
HP has been criticized by some investors and analysts forits poor handling of Hurd's exit, for overspending in anacquisition spree, and not allocating enough on research anddevelopment.
On Tuesday, HP issued a fiscal 2011 forecast that surpassedWall Street expectations. The company used its analyst meetingto emphasize its growth prospects and the investments itsmaking in the company.
Shares in HP closed up 2.2 percent at $42.53 on Wednesdaybut are still down about 8 percent since Hurd resigned in earlyAugust. (Reporting by Gabriel Madway, Ritsuko Ando and AlexeiOreskovic; Editing by Kenneth Li, Edwin Chan and LincolnFeast)