HP names former SAP chief Léo Apotheker new CEO

Hewlett-Packard has named Léo Apotheker as its new chief executive officer, hopefully putting an end to the company’s top-office turmoil after the abrupt resignation of former CEO Mark Hurd in August. Apotheker comes to Hewlett-Packard from the CEO position SAP, which specializes in business software applications aimed at large enterprises. Apotheker spent more than 20 years at SAP. HP has also appointed him to the HP Board of Directors.

“HP has a powerful mix of businesses, products, and services, one of the most innovative cultures in the industry, and an accomplished management team who have played a critical role in its success,” said Apotheker, in a statement. “I am deeply honored to be joining the more than 300,000 dedicated HP employees.”

Apotheker’s appointment surprised most industry watchers: he’s not the kind of headline name or Silicon Valley veteran many were expecting HP to court for its CEO position…and the investment community is currently taking out its ire and confusion on HP’s stock price, taking some 4 percent off its value in after-hours trading. HP’s market capitalization means each of those percentage points translates to over a billion dollars in shareholder value.

Although Apotheker was SAP’s CEO for only seven months, during his long executive tenure at the company he did guide SAP through some 18 consecutive quarters of double-digit revenue growth. However, other industry watchers note that at SAP, Apotheker would have picked up no experience with consumer products, or had much direct experience with mid-market systems or enterprise hardware—although he would seem to be a good fit for the ever-expanding enterprise and cloud services businesses HP is building out. However, Apotheker even has critics on that front: after all, SAP is widely seen as having been outmaneuvered in the enterprise applications market by the likes of IBM and Oracle.

Former HP CEO Mark Hurd has been hired on at Oracle as co-President.

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