September 23, 2011
Hewlett-Packard has officially announced the exit of Leo Apotheker as Chief Executive Officer, less than a year after he took up the position. His successor has been confirmed to be Meg Whitman, who headed e-commerce giant eBay for 10 years and joined HP’s board in January.
The announcement confirms rumours that emerged earlier this week, following inside information leaked by anonymous sources. Another source yesterday told Bloomberg that Apotheker had been unaware of the plans until the rumour broke.
The same source says that the board of directors had been concerned at his inability to improve faltering stock prices, and some had been opposed to the recent $10.3 billion acquisition of UK-based services company Autonomy Corp.
In an official statement, Ray Lane, who has become executive chairman of the board of directors, said: “We very much appreciate Léo’s efforts and his service to HP since his appointment last year. The board believes that the job of the HP CEO now requires additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy. Meg Whitman has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.”
Lane further hailed Whitman as a “technology visionary with a proven track record of execution”, as well as praising her leadership skills. He added that she has picked up a solid understanding of HP’s products and markets during her eight months on the board.
Whitman said: “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world.”
Apotheker’s relatively short tenure as CEO was marred by share prices falling by over 45 percent. In particular, investors balked at last month’s announcement that the company would spin off its PC business.
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