As rumored yesterday, Hewlett-Packard has announced a major reorganization that will merge its PC and printer groups, a move it hopes will improve performance and profits.

“This combination will bring together two businesses where HP has established global leadership,” HP CEO Meg Whitman said in a statement. “By providing the best in customer-focused innovation and operational efficiency, we believe we will create a winning scenario for customers, partners and shareholders.”

The combined entity of PC and printing units will be led by Todd Bradley, who has served as the executive VP of the PC group since 2005. Vyomesh “VJ” Joshi, a 31-year veteran at HP and the leader of the printing group, will retire.

Whitman is channeling former HP CEO Carly Fiorina with this move, as she also combined the two groups in her stay. After Fiorina left, Mark Hurd came in and re-created the two units.

As my colleague Dean Takahashi noted yesterday, this is a huge change for HP. It could prove to be momentous decision for Whitman or her downfall. Whitman replaced Leo Apotheker, who was fired last September for making poor decisions such as announcing a plan to spin off the PC group, and killing off HP’s webOS devices.

Investors reacted mildly to the news, with HP’s stock on the NYSE dropping about 1 percent in early trading.

HP logo: Don DeBold/Flickr

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