As expected, former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman will join Hewlett-Packard as its new CEO, reports Kara Swisher at AllThingsD, who spoke with “multiple sources familiar with the matter.” While the deal has not yet been voted upon by HP’s board of directors, the sources say Whitman’s appointment is all but guaranteed. The board will meet to make a final decision later today, after markets close, in Silicon Valley.
If the move is approved, Whitman, who is a member of HP’s board, would replace current HP CEO Leo Apotheker, who has only served in the chief executive role at HP for 11 months. The technology giant has had seven differnent CEOs, including Aptotheker, since 1999.
CNBC Senior Stocks Commentator Herb Greenberg predicts Apotheker will “make out like a bandit” when he is dismissed from his role at HP, bringing in an estimated $9.4 million or more just for being let go.
According to Swisher’s sources, Whitman will not simply take the reigns at HP as an interim executive, as some have speculated, but will instead serve as a permanent replacement.
“Meg is not someone who wants to be a steward of a process to find another CEO for HP,” one source told Swisher. “She wants to run the company and be a strong leader for what she considers an important tech powerhouse.”
Despite Whitman’s alleged ambitions to transform HP, which has been chasing its tail strategy-wise this year, and is considering ditching its PC business altogether, some market watchers question whether she’s up to the task.
“Whitman has not run a company the size of HP, nor one focused on the enterprise, both of which are concerns that are made more important by the fact that HP is in need of a turnaround in many lines of business, not just a new strategic direction,” said Louis Miscioscia, and analyst with Collins Stewart, in a memo to investors.
By all counts, HP is in dire need of new leadership. Under Apotheker, the company’s stock prices have dropped 47 points over the past year. And the biggest news out of the company was its liquidation of the HP TouchPad, which failed to sell well before the drastic price cut.