Thursday, September 22, 2011

Apotheker out, Whitman in, at HP? Two different reports point that way

Could webOS be saved after all? Possibly not, but at the very least, there may be a fresh set of eyes at CEO, if reports from multiple sources on Wednesday pan out. Leo Apotheker may be on the way out, to be possibly replaced by current HP director and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Make Summer Last DVD's On sale only $4.99 Each & up Expires Sept 30AllThingsD said, "a significant contingent on the board is keen to remove Apotheker after what some directors consider a series of management mishaps." Lending credence to that rumor is a separate report from Bloomberg, which said, that HP "is considering replacing Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker," possibly with Whitman, though Whitman may only be an interim CEO, due to her lack of enterprise experience.

Investors seemed to like the idea, as HP stock rose $1.51 to $23.98 (+6.72% percent). Prior to today, HP stock had dropped 47 percent during the Apotheker era.

The HP board settled on Apotheker after former CEO Mark Hurd left over sexual harassment allegations. HP later said it found no evidence to support the sexual harassment claim.

20% off iPhone WarrantyIt's been said that since Apotheker was never a hardware or gadget guy, and that the moves he's announced already, dumping webOS hardware development, and possibly spinning off the PC division, all make sense when viewed from that point of view.

Don't expect any major changes in HP direction, even if Apotheker is replaced. Jayson Noland, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco said that HP's board and shareholders are "mostly looking for a surer hand." Baird said,

“The board is directionally behind the plan Apotheker’s put in place. It’s just the execution of that plan that has investors wound up.”

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