The rumors about Meg Whitman being named CEO of HP just got a bit more solid as All Things D is reporting that she is definitely in for the job and will be appointed after markets close today. Update below.
HP’s board is meeting up later today where a vote will be taken and the plans could change. But according to their sources it is ‘nearly a done deal’. Whitman won’t just be named an interim CEO either, if she gets the nod, she will be in for the long haul. Of course, how long that haul may be is still in question as its current CEO, Leo Apotheker, has only held the job for 11 months.
A source told All Things D that “Meg is not someone who wants to be a steward of a process to find another CEO for HP. She wants to run the company and be a strong leader for what she considers an important tech powerhouse.”
Whitman has not traditionally had a lot of experience with enterprise products as much of what she did as CEO of eBay was consumer facing. While she was at eBay, she presided over the purchase and subsequent sale of Skype for a $2B loss.
Whitman has apparently been looking for another high-powered executive job after running for, and failing to win, the Governor’s seat in California. She had since been working as a part-time consultant at venture firm Kleiner Perkins.
HP is currently being sued by shareholders who believe that the company mis-handled the dropping of webOS hardware and the pivoting of the company into an enterprise affair. The suit names Apotheker, a man who many feel never intended to give webOS a real fighting chance to grow. He came to HP with a background in enterprise and, some say, always intended to remake HP in the image of his previous company SAP, from which he was dropped before being hired on by HP.
The story of what went down when HP preemptively severed much of its hardware business wasn’t a pretty one. HP may be looking to Whitman for a change in the way that it does business. For those of us that remember HP as a company with a principled and unique take on the consumer hardware business, this could signal a return to interesting products. Or just another sign of the way it has floundered in the past few years as it has attempted to redefine its business.
Update: Meg Whitman has now been named the new CEO of HP, replacing Leo Apotheker, reports All Things D. Looks like it’s official.
The Press Release is below:
HP Names Meg Whitman President and Chief Executive Officer
Ray Lane appointed executive chairman; Léo Apotheker steps down as president, chief executive officer and director
PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 22, 2011
HP today announced that its board of directors has appointed Meg Whitman as president and chief executive officer.
In addition, Ray Lane has moved from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors, and the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly. These leadership appointments are effective immediately and follow the decision that Léo Apotheker step down as president and chief executive officer and resign as a director of the company.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP,” said Lane. “We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”
Whitman said, “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the board, Lane said, “We very much appreciate Léo’s efforts and his service to HP since his appointment last year. The board believes that the job of the HP CEO now requires additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy. Meg Whitman has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.”
Financial analyst conference call details
HP will host an audio webcast for financial analysts and stockholders to discuss today’s announcement. Details are below:
When: Sept. 22, 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET