updated 04:20 pm EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
HP drops Apotheker after tumult over mobile, PCs
HP confirmed rumors and fired CEO Leo Apotheker after just 11 months on the job. The exit is absolute and sees him exit both the CEO and president spots as well as resign as a board member. Former eBay head and HP board member Meg Whitman in turn has been chosen as a permanent CEO and president replacement, effective immediately.
Board chairman Ray Lane has now taken on the title of executive director and is nominating a head independent director.
The company was silent on full reasons for the exit but claimed that the CEO role now needed "additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy," according to Lane. Whitman was being chosen because of superior "operational and communication skills."
Most have widely interpreted the exit as frustration with both long-term finances and a sudden reversal in strategy. HP's stock value has collapsed by 47 percent since Apotheker took over after the Mark Hurd scandal last year. Apotheker's decisions in August, to quit mobile hardware and mull spinning out PCs in favor of an enterprise services strategy, were likely the breaking point. His move would have erased a core part of HP's identity and may have jeopardized both the mobile and PC spaces by creating "unsellable" properties whose shrinking market share and uncertain futures led to refusals to take interest.