Can Meg Whitman do what Leo Apotheker couldn’t for HP?
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 Apotheker's days may be numbered. Bloomberg is also reporting that Apotheker, who took over at HP on Sept. 30, 2010, is close to getting the boot.
Whitman has the chops since she ran eBay, which was a large organization. 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. Here's the short recap:
And 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.
Add it up and the Apotheker era hasn't been a good one for HP and 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 this: 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.