Bloomberg is reporting that an unnamed source says the Hewlett-Packard board of directors is discussing today whether to fire controversial CEO Léo Apotheker after less than a year on the job. Apotheker succeeded Mark Hurd, who was fired over an accounting-and-personnel scandal and who succeeded the contentious Carly Fiorina. All three CEOs have signficantly shifted HP's business, with Fiorina buying Compaq Computer and expanding into services, Hurd slashing costs, and Apotheker shifting HP out of computers and into services.
Apotheker roiled customers and investors in August by saying HP was looking to sell or spin off its PC business to focus on software, such as through a proposed acquisition of enterprise search vendor Autonomy. He also abandoned the WebOS smartphone and tablet market just weeks after the debut of what was supposed to be the crown jewel of HP's emerging WebOS-on-all-devices strategy, announced five months earlier.
When Apotheker was hired, many questioned the board's wisdom given his troubled, short reign at SAP.
The Bloomberg report says that the HP board is considering another highly debated figure as CEO or interim CEO: former eBay CEO and California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who is now a member of HP's board. Whitman's reign at eBay saw strong growth in early years followed by struggles as the business matured, and her failed campaign for governor revealed a taste for company-paid luxuries by a CEO who decried employee perks.
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