HP keeps the strategy, replaces the man who thought it up

Opinion

HP keeps the strategy, replaces the man who thought it up

Farewell then, Leo Apotheker. You were the CEO at HP who introduced a software-based strategy on 18 August by simultaneously announcing plans to acquire Autonomy and (with the full authorisation of the board) to look at a strategic options for the PC business, including a spin-off.

Now, with the full authorisation of the board, you have been dismissed and replaced by Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO and the woman who spent an estimated $45 for every vote she got in the last year's California gubernatorial contest - and still lost.

According to HP's executive chairman Ray Lane this is not the board that hired you because five people joined in January. In fact he even stated it quite categorically, according to one report. "This board, good or bad - I don't think we ought to be going back in history - did not select Leo," he said in his conference with analysts and journalists yesterday. 

But he did add that this board had "made a decision in Meg Whitman to lead us". So if she turns out to be a dud, the board will have to accept responsibility for that - unless HP changes the members again next January.

In light of your dismissal, might we expect some soul-searching at HP and re-examination of the strategy which you announced? Er...maybe not. 

Lane confirmed that whatever the controversy over HP's decision to examine future options for the PC business, the board had "carefully considered the decisions made on August 18 to help augment HP's business". And Whitman's first comments as HP CEO in the same conference call were to reiterate the commitment to the strategy. 

I wonder if they'll call it the Apotheker strategy if they stick with it? Or will they only call it that if they decide to cancel it? Or if they go ahead with it and it fails?

This was first published in September 2011

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