HP Boss To Get The Boot & Replaced By eBay Chief?

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Leo Apotheker could be about to be replaced with ex-eBay chief by its increasingly anxious board, sources have told Reuters.

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Change is already nigh over at Palo Alto, recently announcing a shock change in direction intending to spin off its PSG group including PC and notebook business – to focus on software business – a move spearheaded by Apotheker himself, who has been in the job less than a year.

HP’s board of directors “is thrashing out a host of issues, including whether to name Whitman as the interim CEO,” the source said.

This comes as the No.1 PC maker in the world faces market incredulity, major shareholder discontent and free falling share prices, following the move to ditch its hardware ops.

Read Apotheker Ousting: HP ‘Risky Business’ As Future Hangs Uncertain Here

Ex eBay CEO Meg Whitman may be announced as interim leader of Hewlett Packard in the coming weeks, source indicated. Shares immediately rose up 6.6% to close at $23.96 yesterday on the US stock market, following the news.

The ousting of the German native, the third CEO alongside Carly Fiorina  to be booted by the HP board in a matter of years, comes as no surprise to many analysts, who say it was only a matter of time.

“He was doomed from the beginning,” analyst Brian White, Ticonderoga Securities, said. “The die was cast for whoever stepped into that position.”

Hewlett-Packard has also just begun layoffs at its mobile device unit which makes the webOS operating system. The move follows discontinuation of HP’s TouchPad tablet computer, which went on sale here for just $98 last month as it sought to offload excess inventory.

Phased out by the company a month ago in a move that resulted in a stampede for the product, HP said the layoffs follow its decision to shut down the mobile devices business during its fourth quarter, which ends October 31.

Several staff members already have left on their own volition; but more than 500 are expected to lose their jobs involuntarily in the next few days.

The company said it would give notice to employees by the end of September.

 

Unclear is the future for former webOS chief executive Jon Rubinstein, a former senior software executive at Apple. He’s now answering to Todd Bradley, VP of HP’s personal systems group – but that group will either be sold or spun off under CEO Leo Apotheker’s latest plans.

Some folk are asking whether Rubinstein could be attracted back to Apple, which might appreciate some visionary drive following the retirement of Steve Jobs.

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