Strategy, schmategy: could there be more disruption at HP?


Strategy, schmategy: could there be more disruption at HP?

So the biggest technology story doing the rounds today (22 September) is that the board of HP have had a meeting to discuss whether they should get rid of CEO Leo Apotheker, the man they appointed to run the company less than a year ago.

Apparently, it's partly down to the fall-out from the announcement concerning the future of HP's PC business and the hammering the company's share price took as a result. Whatever the merits of the strategy, I'm left wondering why the board members have even discussed the matter. 

Here's what puzzles me. When HP announced it was looking at the future of the PC business on 18 August, the press release stated unequivocally in the very first paragraph: "HP today announced its board of directors has authorised the evaluation of strategic alternatives for its Personal Systems Group (PSG), including the exploration of the separation of its PC business into a separate company through a spin-off or other transaction."

If the story about getting rid of Apotheker is true then it would appear that, in the space of just over a month, the board of directors has changed its mind. So now I'm wondering if Apotheker does go, why are the board going to be allowed to stay after endorsing, nay authorising, the strategy? Perhaps they didn't understand what they were authorising when they agreed to the plan but if that's the case, you have to ask whether they really are qualified to oversee the company.

But if they are allowed to stay (which is highly likely), the next question is who would want to work with a group of individuals that could agree to your plans and authorise your strategy in a meeting, let you launch it and then turn around and give you the chop if the market reacts badly? What kind of way is that to run a company?


This was first published in September 2011

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