HP considering leadership switch up?

Can Meg Whitman do what Leo Apotheker couldn't do for HP?
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Can Meg Whitman do what Leo Apotheker couldn't do for HP?

It looks like we may find out fairly soon. Kara Swisher at AllThingsD is reporting that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is being considered by HP's board as a replacement for Leo Apotheker.

This swap isn't a done deal, but just the fact that multiple sources are telling Swisher that Whitman is an option indicates that Apotheker's days may be numbered. Bloomberg is also reporting that Apotheker, who took over at HP less than a year ago on 30 September 2010, is close to getting the boot.

Whitman has the chops, since she ran eBay, which is itself a large organisation. It also doesn't hurt that Whitman has worked at Procter & Gamble, Disney and as a consultant at Bain.

HP could clearly use a whiteboard and some strategic thinking from an outsider. Apotheker's missteps are numerous.

  • Apotheker announced a cloud strategy that revolved around the enterprise and consumer; the consumer part was nixed after HP killed the TouchPad
  • HP ventured to buy Autonomy in a deal that was widely panned because it drained cash and wasn't worth the money
  • HP announced that it would evaluate spinning off its PC unit without any due diligence ahead of time — by announcing that the PC unit may be spun off, HP left a large business twisting in the wind for rivals like Dell to take share
  • HP also managed to miss multiple quarters and cut its outlook repeatedly
  • Analysts argued that HP has been juggling in a wind tunnel as it fumbles for a strategy.

Add it up, and the Apotheker era hasn't been a good one for HP. The board looks like it wants to start anew, even though changing CEOs after just a few months is very embarrassing. The largest question for HP is: what exactly does the company stand for? Today, HP is sort of an IBM lite, as it tries to do hardware and software while ditching low-margin businesses like PCs. Who knows what Whitman will do?

On the bright side, at least Apotheker's tenure will have lasted longer than the TouchPad — but not by much.

Via ZDNet US

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