If the reports are true, former eBay head and failed California governor candidate Meg Whitman will become the CEO of HP by the end of the day and current chief, Leo Apotheker will be looking for a job.
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From AllThings D: "The full board of HP, which is meeting today in Silicon Valley, has not officially voted on move and the situation could certainly change, sources said it is nearly a done deal. While there has been much speculation that the well-known Silicon Valley exec would be only an interim CEO for the troubled tech giant, several sources with knowledge of the situation said that she will be taking over leadership on a long-term basis."
The move indicates to some observers that the company is still struggling mightily to find some form of cogent direction as Whitman would be its eighth CEO since 1999.
According to an IDG News Service story today: "Apotheker's reign as sole CEO of SAP was a rocky one, marked by flagging software license revenues, tensions among customers over an unpopular support fee hike and low employee morale. He ultimately was removed as CEO in February 2010, less than a year after being named to the job. It didn't get any easier for Apotheker during his time at HP, with the market reacting badly to a series of strategic decisions as he sought to position HP as a more enterprise software-focused company. Those moves included a possible spinoff of HP's PC division as well as plans to purchase infrastructure software vendor Autonomy."
The wolves are clearly howling for Apotheker's hide:
From the IDG story: "Leo is probably one of the smartest strategists in the industry, but he doesn't know how to communicate," said Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "To be an effective leader, you've got to put out a vision that everyone can get excited about."
From a Bloomberg story: "There's certainly a lot of investor discontent," Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in San Francisco, said yesterday. "There's widespread frustration with the fact that numbers have been cut three times since he's been there."
The Los Angeles Times wrote: "The scenarios for HP and its customers range from poor, to bad, to worse," wrote Carter Lusher, an analyst at research group Ovum. "Rumors that former EBay CEO and current HP board member Meg Whitman might be an interim replacement for Apotheker would do little for the confidence of HP's enterprise customers. Whitman's expertise lies primarily in the consumer market, and an interim leader will just prolong the sense of uncertainty."
Indeed Whitman faces no easy task should she become HP chief.
From Bloomberg/Businessweek: Whitman, who joined Hewlett-Packard's board in January after a failed bid to become California's governor last year, had a mixed record at EBay. CEO for a decade, she took the company public and pioneered e-commerce for small businesses. Yet in the final years of her tenure, she couldn't halt a slowdown in sales growth and overpaid for Skype Technologies SA after a bidding war with Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc. Her lack of experience in computing for large companies may mean she doesn't stay in the role for long, said Jayson Noland, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco. "She's on the board and is a logical interim CEO, but not a logical long-term CEO," said Noland. "She doesn't have enterprise experience."
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