HP board reportedly eyes Whitman for CEO job

Leo Apotheker may be on his way out

HP's board of directors is reportedly looking to replace CEO Leo Apotheker, with former eBay CEO and current HP director Meg Whitman said to be a finalist for the job.

The planned change in leadership of the troubled company was reported by All Things D [http://allthingsd.com/20110921/former-ebay-ceo-meg-whitman-being-considered-for-hp-ceo-job-to-replace-apotheker/] and others, citing anonymous sources. The appointment of Whitman "is by no means a done deal", according to All Things D.

Wall Street reacted favorably to the rumor: HP's stock price rose 7.6 percent at the New York Stock Exchange [http://www.google.com/finance?q=hewlett+packard]. Apotheker has been leading HP since September 2010.

If Apotheker is indeed ousted, it would be the second time in a row he lost a CEO position after a brief and rocky tenure.

He was removed as head of software giant SAP in February 2010 less than a year after being named sole CEO. The company returned to its previous co-CEO format, replacing Apotheker with insiders Jim Hagemann Snabe and Bill McDermott.

Apotheker faced a variety of pressures as SAP CEO, such as dropping software license revenues due to the global recession, as well as fallout from an unpopular decision to raise support fees.

Company morale also reportedly fell under his watch. Co-founder Hasso Plattner alluded to this at the time of Apotheker's removal, saying he would "do everything possible to make SAP a happy company."

Apotheker's tenure at HP has been marked by the failure of its Touchpad tablet, which the company is pulling from the market, and the decision to seek a buyer for its low-margin PC business unit.

(Chris Kanaracus contributed to this story.)

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