Whitman takes reins at HP

Hewlett-Packard Co. has ousted its CEO, Leo Apotheker, and replaced him with former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman.

According to the New York Times, HP’s board of directors was increasingly worried that Apotheker wasn’t the leader to bring the company through the major shift in strategy HP announced last month.

Among the moves HP is undertaking are selling or spinning off its PC business, dumping its mobile devices and TouchPad tablet, and acquiring software maker Autonomy for $11.7 billion.

Whitman told the Times that the process of ousting Apotheker took place over about three months. Whitman has been a board member since earlier this year. 

Whitman says she is sticking with the strategies Apotheker started, and the Washington Post is reporting that analysts are saying her top priority should be the acquisition of Autonomy. 

The strategy shifts Apotheker announced are attempts by HP to remake itself into an IBM with a focus on software and services, according to CNET.com. 

The HP board picked Whitman because of she has “the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance,” Ray Lane, HP’s executive chairman, said in a statement.

Execution will be critical, writes InformationWeek’s Fritz Nelson before listing several moves Whitman needs to make quickly. 

HP needs to restore customer confidence, and it can do that by keeping the PC business as well as clarifying its services and outlining a plan to move to newer technologies such as the cloud without jeopardizing the needs of current customers, Nelson wrote.

“HP must prove to its still loyal customer base that customer needs matter,” he added.

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