Hewlett-Packard has replaced its scorned and criticised former CEO, Leo Apotheker, with former Chief Executive of eBay Meg Whitman.
The decision was made in a bid to bring back investor confidence in the successful Silicon Valley corporation after cancelling their tablet PC sector due to costs and then announcing its return as a possibility made investors shy away from a “weak” and “indecisive” company.
The decision, however, was made without a formal search for a new CEO and the board that appointed Whitman is now under even more scrutiny. The board has also been blamed by investors for the company’s recent missteps.
Executive Chairman Ray Lane, who will be helping Meg Whitman run her new $120 billion empire, made an attempt to make HP’s disillusioned investors happy by announcing what he called a “fresh start.”
The company will be starting afresh with a new CEO and, crucially to investors, a board of directors that has gone through violent shakeups.
Lane vowed that HP gaffes blamed on the board, such as a wire-tapping scandal and the firing of Mark Hurd in a sexual harassment case, are over.
“They are smart, they bring great insight to the table and I think we make good decisions,” Lane said about the new HP board.
Analysts and experts were waiting the new HP administration to backtrack on Apotheker’s oft-criticised major decisions.
Lane, however, said “I don’t think we ought to be going back in history.”
He said that they have carefully weighed the decisions and decided that they were not the problem. “It is our operating execution that needs to improve,” said Lane.
The selection of Meg Whitman was also a surprise to analysts, who noted that HP internal candidates with good track records, such as enterprise chief David Donatelli, were passed up for the second time.
Though the firing of Leo Apotheker had been only a matter of time, many are saying Whitman is not the right person for the job either. Kevin Hunt, Auriga analyst, says she was chosen because HP “just needs someone to set the direction.”
Whitman also defended her appointment to the CEO position, saying that as head of eBay, she participated in the sales of millions of HP products.
“So I actually understand this space relatively well,” she said in an inverview. “What I bring to this table is leadership, management skills, strategic vision, communications and an execution orientation to deliver the result.”