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Rumor: HP Looking To Fire CEO After Less Than A Year

By - Source: Business Week | B 29 comments

And it looks like they're casting flirty glances at Meg Whitman.

New HP CEO Leo Apotheker's months-long leadership of the beleaguered IT giant may be coming to an ignoble end as soon as this week. Earlier today, Business Week reported confirmation via anonymous insiders that the Board, currently meeting at HP headquarters, is now seriously considering sacking him and the candidate widely tipped as his replacement is supposedly former eBay CEO and failed California gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman.

It's true that Apotheker's tenure hasn't been a roaring success. Since taking over in November, 2010, HP has been forced to lower sales forecasts 3 times and the company stock has dropped nearly 50 percent in value. Serious problems to be sure, but not entirely Apotheker' fault. HP has been in something of a downward spiral for years, dogged by high-profile tablet and smartphone failures, expense account 'irregularities', not to mention the infamous 2005 employee spying scandal, all of which happened under Mark Hurd's watch. But Apotheker was brought in after Hurd's resignation to right the ship of corporate state and his failure to do so quickly has apparently soured whatever good will he had with HP's Board. 

While Whitman's high profile loss to Governor Jerry Brown isn't a mark on her ties to big business, the gubernatorial campaign exposed her to significant criticism for her handling of eBay's top job, particularly an alleged shoving incident in 2007 that occurred just before her resignation. Her tenure at eBay was otherwise successful, but her lack of experience in hardware, not to mention her negative public image would make her a curious choice. Then again, under Apotheker's time as CEO, HP has made some dramatic strategy shifts that undermined investor confidence and only accentuated their other missteps. 

As of this writing, no official confirmation of Apotheker's replacement, or who it would be, has been released.

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  • -3 Hide
    gokanis , September 22, 2011 3:18 AM
    Well, Duh!
  • 3 Hide
    Maximus_Delta , September 22, 2011 3:30 AM
    They need to focus on their home PC and tablet business, that was a mistake, team up with Windows 8 and take Apple head on... I should throw my hat into the ring for this job.
  • -3 Hide
    kbarber29 , September 22, 2011 3:51 AM
    "My Meg Whitman, what big teeth you have," says Leo. "The better to eat you with, my dear," says Meg.
  • Display all 29 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    captaincharisma , September 22, 2011 3:59 AM
    i bet the stock will go up higher than last time they fired there CEO
  • -4 Hide
    megamanx00 , September 22, 2011 4:04 AM
    Heck make me CEO. Even I'd do a better job
  • -4 Hide
    captaincharisma , September 22, 2011 4:06 AM
    Heck make me CEO. Even I'd do a better job

    i always route for HP to go out of business so i agree hire this guy :hello: 
  • -4 Hide
    utengineer , September 22, 2011 4:15 AM
    Maximus_Delta... I should throw my hat into the ring for this job.

    Are you sure? You would probably have to quit your day job as an internet troll. ;)  BTW, HP already sacked their PC and tablet business. Maybe you could bring it back. Derp.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , September 22, 2011 4:18 AM
    Perhaps the fact that they are putting Meg up as the next runner-up should prove that the Board is the problem as they do not know what they are doing!
    Meg lucked in on a new idea, and managed to bring it to market. When it became successful she could not handle the business, and the business was better off without her when she left. But even being better off it is still the most backwards unfriendly site I have ever used in my life.

    HP has always been the poor mans dell. And dell has always been crap (with the exception of their business class hardware which is quite usable, and actually has real customer support). And when you are in the position of being a poor mans crap then there is plenty of room for improvement. Even small improvements would be highly noticeable. Not saying it isn't possible to fix, but my bet is that they flounder for 10 more years before becoming the next gateway where you hear their name and think "wait... didn't they go out of business a while back?"
  • -2 Hide
    legacy7955 , September 22, 2011 4:27 AM
    It really is actually painful to watch a historic and important technology company like HP wither and die due to the utter incompetence of the BoD and the executive leaders they have had over the past couple of decades.

    I am BEGGING, no PLEADING for the families of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard to get involved and somehow take back control of the company before it is completely too late to save HP!

    Are we supposed to believe that HP can find NO qualified, worthy successors to this latest dope Mr Apotheker somewhere within the company, someone who actually cares about the products and the people? I don't believe it for ONE minute.
  • -1 Hide
    legacy7955 , September 22, 2011 4:31 AM
    When it comes to the PSG products think a more premium version of ZT Systems offerings. Assemble the product in the USA and use ONLY US based tech support, also drop the cheapest offerings and streamline the rest of the middle and premium offerings using higher quality hardware. Perhaps some products for folks who would like to build their own but like the fact that there is a solid warranty and good support if needed.
  • 2 Hide
    war2k9 , September 22, 2011 5:25 AM
    What took hp board so long to dump this idiot.
  • -6 Hide
    alidan , September 22, 2011 5:33 AM
    ill make a bid for ceo.

    first off, revive the pc department.
    second, take a serious look at the tablet land scape and find a GOOD solution.
    third, move over to amd exclusively, with the exception of extreme high end, and cuda necessary software

    everything we ship will have an apu in it, as to cut the cost of production and make even that cheap pos the family gets because they need a computer, able to play nearly any game at reduced graphical settings. but shipping with 4gb of ram.

    mid range we will go phenom II 3.2 ghz minimum and a 6770 gpu, and 8gb of ram

    high end we will go bulldozer, as it would be out by the time the pc department is revived, and a 7850 on a mother board that can be upgraded to crossfire, shipping with 16gb or ram

    now for the tablet/phone land scape, we have to do some real thinking. if its not patented, i want to have a iphone/touch device, that plugs into a tablet, laptop, and gaming shell. market it as the first real gaming phone, and market the peripherals (the shells) as compatible with future iphones/touches. not saying the shells wont get upgraded models too, but thats not important.

    for the tablet specifically, i would see if we can license off wacom tech, as a wacom tablet would be epic.

    for the laptop side, there would be 2 versions, one that converts a tablet into a laptop, and one that is just laptop.

    but thats just what someone who wants to make a good company and make user benefiting decisions would do.
  • -3 Hide
    alyoshka , September 22, 2011 5:39 AM
    I really can't say much, I don't know if I actually want HP to survive in the PC market or not. I always thought the company was charging ridiculous amounts of money for it's rigs that were really nothing more than Mass Modded or Beautified uglies of the past. Just like Dell, most of these so called PC companies thrive of the hard earned money of the common family man who has no particular knowledge of PC tech. They survive on the ignorance of hardworking people, and that's not too good, in my books. So lets just say if HP does become a gateway , it's just getting what it deserves from my PoV.
    On the other hand if they were to implement major policy changes and divide the company into area centered units, it'd be way easier to reduce the prices of products and offer better after sales services to millions of very upset customers. and do a little good to the company and it's image as a whole.
    Changing heads is just like blaming it on rio, you can change one head of the company every month and blame all the crap on the last one, it won't do them any good though.
    Make one stick and make him see the company through thick and thin. and if one head is not sufficient get a few more to handle other stuff.
    I'd say make it work.
    Make it work way better than it was before this.
  • -5 Hide
    descendency , September 22, 2011 6:27 AM
    Everyone talking about PCs and tablets just doesn't understand how low margin they are. HP can make way more money in other sectors.
  • 1 Hide
    cookoy , September 22, 2011 6:41 AM
    i agree with CaedenV 1st sentence comment. Maybe the problem is HP's board. Their front runner doesn't have much experience on hardware business. Coming from eBay, maybe if things get really worst, she can auction off HP to the highest bidder!
  • -1 Hide
    dark_knight33 , September 22, 2011 9:14 AM
    descendencyEveryone talking about PCs and tablets just doesn't understand how low margin they are. HP can make way more money in other sectors.

    Low margin != Unprofitable

    HP-fail is due to lack of differentiation. Apple does well because it takes the boutique experience to the extreme. HP is trying to out do Apple AND do it at a lower cost by maintaining low quality and support (e.g. A $300 PC). You can't compete with Apple using cheaper products and less marketing dollars. Make a better product and charge more for it. The consumer PC business is cutthroat because all the sharks are
    fighting over the shallow end. Voodoo-PC should have fixed that for HP, but got swallowed by middle management drones instead. It's what happens in big companies when people lose their jobs for publicly having a different point of view.
  • -1 Hide
    eddieroolz , September 22, 2011 9:32 AM
    Well in my mind Apotheker did make a whole lot of blunders, ones that HP couldn't afford to make. So it's only logical that he be forced to take responsibility.
  • -2 Hide
    shqtth , September 22, 2011 12:46 PM
    If they wanted to phase out webOS, they could of done it over time, not all at once like they did. They could of still had a big sale like they did, but buy dumping this and that etc, makes HP future uncertain, effecting stock. Change should be gradual not all at once.
  • -2 Hide
    shqtth , September 22, 2011 12:47 PM
    If they wanted to phase out webOS, they could of done it over time, not all at once like they did. They could of still had a big sale like they did, but buy dumping this and that etc, makes HP future uncertain, effecting stock. Change should be gradual not all at once.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , September 22, 2011 1:24 PM
    In the line of PC business, if you are not building cheap PC and be one of the market leaders, you won't be able to break into corporate market. Trying to change HP into Apple way of building boutique PCs will be a disaster. Unlike Apple, there are several competitors building similar machines in PC business. Apple get to do what they are doing because they run a monopoly, and has successfully maintain it that way since 80s.

    Trying to adopt Apple way in the PC world is not going to help a company, it will only sink them. PC nowadays has become commodity product like a toaster or microwave. Margin is going to be thin and the mean to continue to stay in business is to accurately manage the supply and cost to meet the demand. One way to diversify is to venture into new line of businesses like mp3 player, TV, smart phone etc.
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