HP Axes Apotheker And Appoints Meg Whitman As CEO

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Hewlett-Packard forces out its second CEO in 13 months and selects former eBay CEO Meg Whitman

“In short, the next CEO will have to be a much better public relations person than Leo. His strategy may prove to be correct, but his communications skills will not. On a positive note, it seems start-ups and smaller companies can sleep better knowing even the big dogs are all screwed up, too, sometimes,” he concluded.

Whitman’s Achievements

Since her election loss in November 2010 for the California governorship – a campaign in which she spent a well-chronicled $150 million (£97m) of her own money – Margaret Cushing Whitman (pictured) has consulted for legendary Sand Hill Road VC firm Kleiner Perkins and serves on the boards of directors of several other organisations.

Whitman is a graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School. She worked at The Walt Disney Company as vice president of strategic planning in the 1980s. She also has served as an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro.

Whitman was president and CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. During her tenure, the company grew from 30 employees and $4 million (£2.6m) in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion (£5bn) in revenue. Although she has experienced success in business throughout her career, Whitman has worked exclusively in the consumer sector and has never worked at or run an enterprise-focused company.

HP has extensive global consumer IT businesses involving PCs, printers and other devices, but its shift away from the consumer sector to a sharper focus on enterprise hardware, software and services does not align with her background.

HP Employees’ Views On Apotheker

According to nearly 3,000 HP employee reviews and ratings on Glassdoor, a jobs and career community, HP employees gave Apotheker a cumulative 58 percent approval rating (42 percent disapproval).

Apotheker’s approval rating had been on a steep decline over the past few months; this past month he held a 25 percent approval rating. When Hurd was fired, he held a cumulative 34 percent approval rating among HP employees, and interim CEO Cathy Lesjak held a 55 percent approval rating during her brief term as the top executive in 2010. The average approval rating for CEOs on Glassdoor is 62 percent.

Some HP employees also shed some light on what it has been like to work under Apotheker during the past year. For example, one HP marketing director recently commented: “Fire Leo. The man is flat-out incompetent. We’ve gone from one fiasco to the next under his reign.”

Overall, HP employees gave the company a 2.5 approval rating (based on a five-point scale).

eWEEK East Coast Managing Editor Jeff Burt contributed to this story.

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