Its official, Leo Apotheker has been given the sack and replaced with ex eBay boss, whom he originally hired as a Director.
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HP board confirmed the firing yesterday, saying it was “fortune” to have someone of Whitman’s calibre and “track record” to lead the lost tech giant at a “critical moment”- a clear dig to Apotheker who had been in the top job less than a year.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s calibre and experience step up to lead HP,” Ray Lane HP’s new executive chairman declared.
“We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead.”
“Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities,” he added.
This is the Hewlett Packard board third ousting in as many years. Carly Fiorina and sexual harassment accused Mark Hurd were previous victims.
Apotheker, the former head of SAP was ousted due to a ‘lack of leadership and poor execution’ according to HP sources although the No.1 PC maker is still sticking by the now ex-boss’ decision to rid itself of its hardware business.
Whitman joined the HP board earlier this year under the direction of Apotheker, who saw through three consecutive quarters with a lowered financial outlook, falling share price – over 45% this year alone – and most recently announced HP was to spin off its still profitable PC and notebook business.
“As a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”
Whitman, a former Republican party candidate who steered internet giant eBay to major success until 2008 said she was “excited” to lead a company the world needs.
“I am honoured and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world.”
But analysts aren’t happy with the move at the top and say it will only make an already shaky company into an even riskier company to do business with.
“HP is flailing, causing more uncertainty and increasing the risk of doing business with it,” Carter Lusher, Ovum analyst has warned.
“Whether or not the rumor is correct or not, the damage has already been done” and “only reinforces that HP is a company that is in severe disarray.”
However, it may not be all bad and Whitman’s experience although lacking in the hardware department, could prove beneficial for it’s fast growing services business.
“Whitman lacks experience running a global enterprise IT vendor, but she does have experience as an enterprise IT customer (as CEO of EBay), and understands the value of consulting services (having started her career at Bain).” say Jens Butler and John Madden, Ovum Services analysts.
Read Apotheker Ousting: HP ‘Flailing’, As Future Hangs In Balance Here
HP shares slumped down 4.9% on Wall Street close yesterday, to $US22.80 amid a broader market sell off.