HP Names Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman As New President

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News Posted: Thu, Sep 22 2011 4:18 PM
Well, this is strange. But not entirely unexpected. Rumors had intensified in the last few days that HP was getting ready to switch CEOs for the second time in a year, and those rumors were just put to rest. Because they're true. In September of last year, former CEO of SAP, Léo Apotheker, was chosen to lead HP after the Mark Hurd scandal. Now HP has a whole different kind of scandal to worry about. A scandal involving shaky leadership and questionable decisions.

Today, Meg Whitman (the former CEO of eBay) was named President and Chief Executive Officer of HP, while Ray Lane was appointed executive chairman. Leo's gone altogether. We are told that the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly, and yes, these leadership appointments are effective immediately.

Said Lane: "We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP. We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets."

Meg seemed equally enthused: "I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world." Speaking on behalf of the board, Lane 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.”

So, what does this mean in the big picture? Well, another fresh start for HP, but sadly, it probably won't revive webOS -- the mobile OS that Leo effectively killed before leaving. It will certainly leave a lasting impression, and it'll be something that sticks with him as his final move while head of the company. There's also speculation that he's taking home a huge golden parachute after effectively failing at the job for 12 months, proving once again that it's good to be king. We hope HP can find itself in the coming months, and since they haven't sold off their consumer PC business quite yet, maybe Meg can salvage and restart that. Nothing to do but take a deep breath and try to move ahead at this point.
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I don't see webos making a comeback after seeing windows8 and definitely not after they let 525ish of the webos team go. I think HP will roll out a few windows8 tablets and be back in the mobile arena. I like HP products for the most part and wish Whitman the best. Hopefully she can turn this situation around.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 5:14 PM

Well... It seems like after Meg Whitman ran eBay into the ground and tried fruitlessly to become California governor, she's found a new home at HP.

In any case, I wish her the best of luck. Apotheker really make a big mess that's going to be really hard to clean up.


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rapid1 replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 6:16 PM

Now that was a quick flip were we not debating this this morning, I come home this afternoon and Whitman is CEO. I think it is good as either way she has more working knowledge from a combined commercial/corporate perspective than Apotheker did. I would say she is a better fit from what I see. Oh and as far as Ebay they (the board) ran themselves into the ground much like AOL did thinking they can do no wrong once success had been there for a bit. I am not saying it is any guarantee that she will make it 10 times greater, I am just saying in or from my point of view it seems like a better fit, and especially from where there at (IE: HP is nowhere near going under now, but I can see it on the wall if some drastic changes are not made to many of there strategic plans) to where they go in the future.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 6:30 PM

This is beyond nuts. This type of flip-flop does no one any good, including anyone at HP.

Apotheker wanted to take the company into new territory with a dramatically different focus. It's one thing for HP to say it didn't like that--but announcing his huge plans and then firing the guy is schizophrenic.

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Marco C replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 6:57 PM

I second Joel's sentiments. What the heck is this company doing?

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omegadraco replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 10:45 PM

Wow this is just crazy. I really hope this does not mean another complete overhaul for the direction the HP is planning to go.

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realneil replied on Thu, Sep 22 2011 11:04 PM

They have the world's number one PC manufacturing business in hand ans put it up for sale?

They buy into ownership of WebOS and then kill it off?

It's gonna be interesting what they decide to do next,...a new driver at the corporate wheel may be what they need.

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gazd1 replied on Fri, Sep 23 2011 12:01 AM

I second "Marco C" & I third "Joel H" comments.Yes Also I have been a long time member of eBay.Sad I have not seen anything positive at all, infact I think that she has made life harder for the average eBay buyer on eBay & thus made things a lot more easier for the eBay store owner. Example:- lowered the amount of days (less days to complain) that one could put in a complaint about a faulty,etc product.No

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3vi1 replied on Tue, Sep 27 2011 1:39 PM


I think HP's been habitually making one bad decision: Who their CEO should be.

They need someone that doesn't try to radically change their profit centers, but at the same time can put a friendlier face on the company: Someone that can make us forget half-full ink cartridges and the abuse of patents against anyone who tries to make compatible refills. Someone that won't let HP release godawful software that is invariably half-finished or conversely bloated beyond recognition.

That's why I recommend the Brainwashotron-3000. Sure, he's a short-circuiting psychopathic robot from an alternate future timeline - but it's a timeline where HP sold some really profitable blade servers.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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