Looks like the rumors were true. HP today announced that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has been brought in as the company's new president and chief executive officer, replacing Leo Apotheker less than a year after he was brought in to replace Mark Hurd. Whitman has been a part of HP's board of directors since early this year. “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world," Whitman said.
Although this announcement doesn't come as much of a shock to anyone that's been following the news for the past couple of days, it's still a big change for a company that has had it kind of rough lately, especially in the mobile space. It remains to be seen what kind of effect Whitman's promotion will have on webOS after HP's announcement that it was done creating hardware for the platform, but hey, it can't hurt to hope for a comeback, right?
UPDATE: There's not a lot of news to report in webOS Land just yet. Whitman said during a call with analysts and investors that HP will "continue to explore options to optimize" its webOS sector. Oh, and as for Leo Apotheker? He's taking home a $25 million severance package that includes $7.2 million in cash and $18 million in stock after being with the company for less than 11 months.
HP Names Meg Whitman President and Chief Executive Officer
Ray Lane appointed executive chairman; Léo Apotheker steps down as president, chief executive officer and director
PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 22, 2011
HP today announced that its board of directors has appointed Meg Whitman as president and chief executive officer.
In addition, Ray Lane has moved from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors, and the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly. These leadership appointments are effective immediately and follow the decision that Léo Apotheker step down as president and chief executive officer and resign as a director of the company.
“We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP,” said Lane. “We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”
Whitman said, “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world.”
Speaking on behalf of the board, Lane said, “We very much appreciate Léo’s efforts and his service to HP since his appointment last year. The board believes that the job of the HP CEO now requires additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy. Meg Whitman has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.”