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.