HP CEO Apotheker may soon get the axe

After just 11 months at HP’s helm, Leo Apotheker might be about to get the axe. At least, that’s what the Wall Street Journal is saying, quoting unofficial reports from folks with knowledge of the situation.

The nameless informants claim that HP’s board convened yesterday to discuss Apotheker’s possible ouster. Word is that the board hasn’t chosen a replacement yet, but former eBay head Meg Whitman could take over as interim CEO if Apotheker does depart. Whitman is a member of the HP board right now.

The Journal points out that HP’s stock climbed 11.7% yesterday after news of Apotheker’s possible departure broke. I think that says all there is to say about Apotheker’s popularity. His tenure has seen HP make some, er, puzzling moves, leading its stock price to plunge from $42 (on the day he took over) to just $22 before word of his departure got out.

HP’s recent missteps are too numerous to list here, but the Wall Street Journal did a rather nice job in its scathing piece, "HP’s One-year Plan." Highlights include dropping webOS like a hot potato weeks after the TouchPad’s debut, announcing the sale of the company’s PC business before having found a buyer, missing financial estimates twice, and blowing through "billions of dollars in cash reserves."

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    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I know! This is why Jobs left Apple… he’s gonna be HP CEO! He already sold them an iPod back in the day.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I think firing Apotheker is not the only thing HP needs to do right now. Who are the ones who hired a person who was [u<]fired[/u<] from SAP [u<]to become HP's CEO[/u<]? The board, that's who. Really stupid. Do they even think about what they're doing? They're not hiring a janitor, they're hiring someone who's supposed to lead a very large company. I say, the HP board should fire themselves as well.

      • Corrado
      • 8 years ago

      On top of that, why fire Hurd? He was doing EXCELLENT? Simply because he spent $60K on a questionable consultant that turned out to be his mistress? From what I understood, she really DID work for the company, she was just overpaid for it. Well, who do the board have to blame for good ol’ Leo being over paid for crappy work? Its not a 1:1, but there are similarities there.

      Hurd brought you back to prominence and made people WANT HP products and seek them out. Before that you went to the store and if the HP had the specs you wanted for the right price you’d but it. He gave the HP brand some value, not just in being known, but of being a quality product. So lets fire him and hire a guy that wants to gut the company. Good call. Then get pissed off when he guts the company.

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Wasn’t Leo A. fired from SAP before joining HP?

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      Yes, he was only in the Big Chair at SAP for seven months before getting fired over a software-theft scandal.

        • ronch
        • 8 years ago

        Better check his pockets when he leaves then.

    • A_Pickle
    • 8 years ago

    Thank [i<]GOD[/i<]. That guy was an idiot of unbound potential. I guess only HP could've had a mobile hardware unit, a mobile software unit, a PC hardware unit, and a PC software unit, and fail to make something awesome happen. They have all the pieces they need to be a tremendous contender against Apple.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Well, I suppose, when Steve Wozniak presented his idea to HP back in the 70’s, HP was already too stupid to take advantage of the opportunity. HP could’ve been [u<]the[/u<] Apple today.

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      They _did_.. 500+ layoff notices to WebOs folks means they’re gone too. This company is toast unless it removes (or better yet terminates with extreme prejudice) its current board.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    Why would the board let him make the shitty decisions he made, if he was just going to get fired over it? Unless there is more to the story than we are hearing (which there almost certainly is).

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 8 years ago

      He’s the sacrificial lamb in a desperate move by the board to be retained at all costs.

      Where did Whitman come from? That’s right – the same lame board.

      Meanwhile they’re bleeding talent like no one’s business.

    • Anonymous Coward
    • 8 years ago

    Wow, its amazing that the bold plan to sell everything and buy all new things, which sounded really stupid, [i<]really was stupid[/i<]. The people making those decisions [i<]where actually idiots[/i<].

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    All this because of a little mishap with the prior CEO. Maybe he was a little, er, “unorthodox” but he lead HP to great success’ and now HP is something of a joke to any and everyone. The decision to pull the plug on the former CEO seems to have been a deathstroke to this former pc giant. not even 2 years later and HPs brand has been all but destroyed.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]"unorthodox" "mishap"[/quote<] He hired a former porn star he'd met for a key position without interviewing anyone else, watched her movies on his work computer, spent a lot of time alone with her on business trips where no clients can be found that actually saw them, and filed false expense reports to try and hide it all. That's a bit more than just 'unorthodox'

        • willyolio
        • 8 years ago

        which just goes to show… even with all that bad behaviour, he still didn’t manage to destroy the company as quickly as Apotheker.

          • Vaughn
          • 8 years ago

          I bet you mark laughs about this every pay day when him and Larry are having a beer in the Oracle executive lounge 😛

    • PeterD
    • 8 years ago

    Looks like it’s not all Apotheker’s doings, but it happened long before.
    As a matter of fact, hiring Apotheker was a mistake.
    And who made that mistake?

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 8 years ago

      I had to kill Bob Morton because he made a mistake.

    • chuckula
    • 8 years ago

    First he screws over SAP (they fired him first), then the idiots who run HP’s board rushed to throw money at him so that he could gut HP and turn it into Bizarro-SAP.

    After the board fires him, they should just drink the Flavor-Aid (*NOT* Kool-aid… I believe in historical accuracy) and clear the path for someone who isn’t an idiot to run things.

    • esterhasz
    • 8 years ago

    The business decisions are one thing – buying Autonomy, canning WebOS (or not?), splitting off the PC division, those are all things that one can debate, weigh the pros and cons, predict future market evolutions, etc. But the way HP “communicated” (?) this was really amateurish to an astounding degree for such a big company.

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      Good points. The problem starts with Apotheker, but it also permeates the board.

    • liquidsquid
    • 8 years ago

    And yet he will move on to the next company with a golden parachute and perform the same. I say tax the SOB into rags.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 years ago

      tax all those rich bastards. Citibank was right, the world is controlled by a few rich folks, that don’t do their fair share.

        • NeelyCam
        • 8 years ago

        You’se a SOCIALIST

          • dpaus
          • 8 years ago

          Nah, just a Canadian. Oh, right, that’s the same thing.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 years ago

          no i’m not. i’m an anti-plutonomist. I’m really more of an institutionalist. i’m surprised that got a +5 though!

            • Suspenders
            • 8 years ago

            Sign of the times I guess…people are finally starting to wake up to how screwed the average person is.

          • albundy
          • 8 years ago

          yeah, but you’re ALOT worse.

      • PeterD
      • 8 years ago

      Maybe he’s a Chinese agent…

      • mattthemuppet
      • 8 years ago

      I can’t wait to see his “performance” bonus. I’m sure he’ll get millions for helping halve the company’s value.

      • kamikaziechameleon
      • 8 years ago

      While I don’t agree with this notion in so much as people are not held accountable for squat, I’d raise the question, who fired Mr. HUD? He was clearly doing a great job, so good in fact that he couldn’t be replaced. Who fired all the other execs and Hud related leadership? Those are the people who killed this company. At that the only people who suffer are employees and investors. Someone will grow to fill the HP void and regen those jobs, no worries.

      I don’t think taxing does anything productive though it punishes good businessmen as well as bad.

        • destroy.all.monsters
        • 8 years ago

        And taxing the poor, the working class, and what’s left of the middle class almost exclusively is a viable option?

      • willyolio
      • 8 years ago

      yeah, funny how CEOs work that way. You can run a company into the ground and still be “more qualified” than 99.999% of the population, and just get re-hired at some other company to make million-dollar salaries.

      • Suspenders
      • 8 years ago

      Corporate pay is just mind boggling. [url=http://allthingsd.com/20110921/what-will-leo-apotheker-walk-away-with-if-hes-fired/<] Apotheker, according to this site [/url<] can expect $28-$32 million dollars of pay from his time at HP, for essentially running the firm into the ground. It's pretty clear to me that as a society we need to stop rewarding CEOs to destroy firms. This is literally killing our economy and our society, and a sane society would put a stop to it. CEO's and upper management need to be incentivised to care about whether or not the company is still around in ten years time, and to do that you have to cap pay at a low enough level that these folks still need to be employed in 10 years time. Either cap pay at 10x your lowest paid employee (and include your subcontractors in this figure also so they can't weasel out of it), or tax the crap on anything more than $1 million a year. 1950's style 90% marginal rates above a million. This way there is an incentive to pay employees more, and also a need to keep working and worry about the health of the company, because while you can live VERY well on a million dollars a year, you'll still need a job 10 years down the line. When you get payed obscene amounts like this dude ($30 million in a year) or something really outrageous like $100 million+ a year, you really could care less whether the company does well or not. Why should you? You got paid enough in a year that you never have to work again. The incentives are retarded, and unless we enforce some new ones we can expect to continue seeing bozos like these destroying our society.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      I heard Apotheker will sign up for an audition for the next guy to replace Patrick Stewart in Star Trek. Next episode: How the captain drove the Starship Enterprise straight into a black hole.

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