‘Crazy Idea’ To Hire Meg Whitman As New HP CEO

Jay Decenella, IT audit expert
September 21, 2011 /

The tech world welcomes Hewlett-Packard Co’s bid to replace HP CEO Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job, but laughs at the idea of replacing him with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

HP is considering hiring a new CEO as the company struggles to brave the shareholder lawsuits and intense criticism from investors. One of its last resorts to solve the issue: replacing Apotheker with Whitman as the interim HP CEO.

But to replace him with Whitman is “laughable” according to Roger McNamee managing director of investment firm Elevation Partners as quoted by the New York Times.

One of the problems seen to have sent HP crumbling is its recent acquisitions of Palm and Compaq Computer, a move that seemed absurd then especially considering today’s unstable market. Apotheker was also the major proponent of the $12 billion deal to buy British software maker Autonomy, a move too costly to achieve, but was done nevertheless.

Apotheker, on his 11th year now, has significantly reduced sales forecasts time and again, withdrew promises to integrate Palm’s webOS software into devices, and hardly halted a 50 percent fall in the share price.

Moreover, HP failed to put much investments in areas like software and services, a shortcoming believed to be the precursor of Apotheker’s ouster.

Investors were caught by storm last August when Apotheker put away the company’s line of mobile devices like TouchPad. The HP CEO said his decision was prompted by the idea that it may spin off its PC division.

According to Forbes, HP must first address its most important problem before sacking someone and hiring another: developing new line of products to achieve sustainable competitive advantage.

To HP, it will mean taking the road not taken and stop acquiring other tech firms, which marked the failure of the previous management.

“HP must return to its innovative trait—the difficult path; develop its own internal competences and capabilities, as Coring Inc. (NYSE:GLW) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have been doing, coming up with the one innovative product line after the other, pioneering their own markets rather than trying to colonize the market of others,” Forbes stated.

Apotheker was the former CEO of German business software maker SAP AG. He replaced overnight Mark Hurd, who was ousted last year after a scandal involving expense reports and a female contractor emerged.

Meg Whitman, who joined HP’s board this year on an interim basis after losing her California gubernatorial bid, seemed to have won the nod of investors.


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