Leo Apotheker is the latest HP CEO rumoured to be on the chopping block. The Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) board is said to be preparing to fire the ex-SAP refugee, over a bungled strategy and a tumbling share price.
- On the one hand, good riddance to non-performing execs.
- On The Other Hand, his replacement is said to Meg Whitman, who destroyed shareholder value, and managed to of alienate both eBay's sellers and its buyers.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: The traffic in Paris is crazy...
Chris Kanaracus reports:
A former head of...SAP, Apotheker was seen as a surprise choice when he was announced as a replacement for former CEO Mark Hurd. ... Apotheker's reign as sole CEO of SAP was a rocky one, marked by flagging...revenues, tensions...over an unpopular support fee hike and low employee morale. He ultimately was removed...less than a year after being named to the job.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that discontent over Apotheker has become rampant among rank-and-file employees. ... [His Glassdoor.com] rating plummeted in recent months, to 25 percent...well below the 62 percent average approval rating for CEOs. ... Ex-eBay CEO and current HP director Meg Whitman reportedly is being considered...should Apotheker be removed.
Quentin Hardy and Nick Wingfield dig the dirt:
[A]ccording to several people with knowledge of the board’s actions...[t]he leading candidate to replace...LÃ©o Apotheker, was Meg Whitman. ... With the move to fire its third chief executive in a row, Hewlett-Packard risks looking like the tech company that cannot find its way.
On a day last month that crystallized the company’s careening strategy...Apotheker made a series of announcements: poor quarterly earnings...[the] purchase of Autonomy...discontinuation of its TouchPad tablet...that had been introduced only months before; and the...spinoff of H.P.’s mainstay PC business. ... The company’s stock has fallen 47 percent...on Mr. Apotheker’s watch.
And Timothy Prickett-Morgan reads the runes:
"[A] significant contingent" of the HP board wants to remove Apotheker after some bad moves. ... [G]etting into a legal spat with Oracle over the fate of the Itanium processor...has not been good for business. ... And HP has not handled its proposed spinoff of the PC business very well.
Apotheker was once...CEO at enterprise software giant SAP...but was let go...after a number of bad moves, including trying to raise maintenance prices drastically during the Great Recession.
Larry Dignan examines the Whitman connection:
The company looks rudderless. ... [I]t's worth asking whether Whitman is up to the task. ... Whitman grew eBay from just a pup to a massive business. The growth and scale of eBay in the glory days was impressive.
[But t]here's nothing in Whitman's experience that indicates that she can pitch servers...or figure out what HP's ultimate strategy should be. ... Under Whitman's tenure, eBay bought Skype in a deal that didn't quite work out as planned.
Harry McCracken is fascinated, yet depressed:
You gotta think there’s a decent chance that Meg Whitman...will reconsider Apotheker’s desire to get rid of HP’s PC business. But I don’t dare dream that the...termination of the TouchPad might also be subject to revisiting.
But Herb Greenberg isn't feeling sorry for Apotheker:
[He] will have made a killing...a total of at least $9.4 million. ... [T]two-times his sum base salary...plus his average bonus...restrictions released on...76,000 HP shares...relocation benefits...signing bonus.
Not bad for a year’s work!
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.