A day after the first set of rumors on the issue, HP announced post-Market close that it has named former eBay CEO and board member Meg Whitman president and CEO, replacing Leo Apotheker. Apotheker had taken over following the resignation of Mark Hurd, after allegations of sexual harassment, which were never borne out.
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Apotheker was CEO for less than 11 months. In addition, HP said Ray Lane will become executive chairman of the company’s board of directors; he had previously served as non-executive chairman.
Lane said, “We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP. 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. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”
Although the rumors of Leo Apotheker’s firing and Meg Whitman’s appointment only arose yesterday, later information pointed to the change happening Thursday, after the close of the markets, which it did.
Earlier, it was believed that because of Meg Whitman’s lack of experience with the enterprise market, the appointment would be interim. However, HP did not use that term in its press release, and AllThingsD, which first broke the rumors, did not believe the appointment would be temporary, either.
In fact, several anonymous sources with “knowledge of the situation” told them that Whitman will be taking over HP’s leadership position on a long-term basis. Things could change, as HP has had seven CEOs since 1999, with Mark Hurd perhaps the most successfully, although he left in relative disgrace.
In a way, the company’s results sound like what you get when you pair an NFL QB with seven diffeent offensive coordinators in his career: a big mess (Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers comes to mind). So we’d expect that HP would want to stay with Meg Whitman for as long as possible, if possible.
Meg Whitman had a 10-year stint as CEO at eBay, followed by an unsuccessful run as the Republican nominee for governor of California last year. Since then, she has been a part-time consultant at venture firm Kleiner Perkins.
It remains to be seen if any changes to HP’s recent moves come from her rise to the top, but since she was already on the Board, one would assume that she was on-board with the recent proposals and moves (spin-off personal computers, kill webOS hardware, for example).