Lord Alan Sugar Is Readers’ Fantasy HP CEO

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Sugar beats Schmidt, Ballmer and Jobs in eWEEK readers’ dreams. Next. do you trust open source?

eWEEK Europe readesr apparently  want Lord Alan Sugar, of  TV show The Apprentice, to run Hewlett-Packard (HP), but gave other candidates serious consideration in a light hearted poll carried out in response to Leo Apotheker’s removal by the HP board last week,

In brisk voting, outspoken  Lord Sugar was eventually joined by many of the IT industry’s brightest and best, with Eric Schmidt performing particularly well. The Apprentice star and chairman of YouView  finished ahead of a fragmented field, illustrating that brand recognition is important – and there is still some affection for Apotheker’s predecessor, Mark Hurd.

“Leo, You’re Fired!”

No one was going to take this poll too seriously, and Lord Sugar romped home with 22 percent of the votes cast. His popularity possibly suggested that his Aprentice catchphrase “You’re fired” would be in keeping with HP’s current status, and recent layoffs and offshoring plans.

Apotheker was removed when HP shares fell rapidaly folliwing an unpopular strategic decision. He was the second CEO HP lost in just over a year,  having succeeded Mark Hurd, who quit amid sexual harassment accusations.

Sugar chairs YouView, the BBC-led free-to-air digital set-top box consortium, but had more direct IT experience in the 1980s, when his company Amstrad brought down the cost of IBM-compatible PCs in the UK – expertise which might become useful if HP reverses Apotheker’s plan to float off its PC business (and if floppy disks make a comeback).

A strong second place went to Eric Schmidt (13 percent), who stood down as Google’s CEO in January, having led the company for ten years. Previously he ran Novell, and before that was a senior vice president at Sun Microsystems. Schmidt is still active for Google as its chairman, so may not be available, but he is possibly underemployed and would no doubt make a great job.

Next, former HP CEO Mark Hurd made a strong play, on 11 percent and rising as we write – he was controversial as a CEO, but many felt he was applying the medicine that HP needed to adjust to the changes in the industry.

Leo Apotheker did poorly on just under six percent, beaten by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and Info CEO Charles Phillips.

Steve Ballmer, who some feel has outstayed his role as Microsoft CEO , made nearly nine percent of the votes.

Steve Jobs would very likely have overtaken tha and given Lord Sugar a fight, but he was a late entrant. We initially left him off the list, as he has retired for health reasons from Apple  and is surely not available.  We were reminded that this is a “fantasy CEO” poll and, after a late start, he closed on seven percent, and was likely to climb higher.

Phillips is an interesting case. A former Oracle co-president of Oracle, his place was taken by former HP CEO Mark Hurd – his six percent came from fans of neat endings to executive  games of musical chairs.

Current HP executives all seem unpopular, including replacement CEO Meg Whitman, Ray Lane and Dave Donatelli, all beaten by Apotheker.

In the Other category, suggestions from readers included movie stars and characters  (George Clooney,  charlie Sheen, Harry Callahan), sports personalities (Alan Shearer, Sugar Ray Leonard), as well as Mickey Mouse and Santa.

Surprisingly, only two people volunteered to take the job themselves. Surely it can’t be that bad a job, and if stories of Apotheker’s $10 million pay-off are true, we think we’d be happy to give it a go.

Do you trust open source?

Next up, let’s be serious. The question of government support for open source has emerged, and we want to find your attitudes to open source software.

Do you use it wherever possible, in major production systems? Or do you avoid it as untrustworthy? Perhaps some of you would love to use open soruce more, but can’t because you are tied to proprietary software.

This is pretty much a repeat of a poll from last year: we want to to see if your opinions are changing.

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