updated 01:35 pm EDT, Thu September 22, 2011
HP said dropping CEOs almost immediately
HP may be ready to fire Leo Apotheker as soon as Thursday, more than one source claimed at mid day. The tip to AllThingsD had the 11-month CEO out and replaced by former eBay head Meg Whitman after the stock market closes, between 4PM and 4:30PM Eastern. Whitman would be a permanent replacement and not the interim hire some had expected.
Whitman had a mixed track record at eBay, having taken it public and grown its business rapidly but also to have botched the Skype deal in the long term. She is nonetheless reported as eager to get back into an executive position at a company after her failed Republican candidacy in California and on-and-off consultancy at Kleiner Perkins. Her long time communications advisor Henry Gomez is said to have signed on to help manage the news of her CEO position.
Whitman would come to HP as the antithesis of Apotheker. The soon to be outgoing CEO came from SAP and has been focusing most of his attention on enterprise business, culminating in the decision to end webOS hardware and consider dropping PCs. Whitman, meanwhile, is focused on home users and would be more likely to keep these businesses.
The forced departure would reflect a frustration with Apotheker's performance and his strategy. Along with dropping HP's stock value 47 percent in the past year, he has cast doubt on the home PC business that has defined much of HP's identity and effectively taken HP out of contention in the mobile field. By mentioning a possible PC business spin-out 12 to 18 months in advance, he also potentially damaged the prospects for both existing sales and the long term.