Has HP made the right choice with Leo Apotheker as CEO? – Frankly, no-one really knows.


Clearly there was a lot of interest in the appointment of the new CEO of HP following Mark Hurd’s rapid departure.  A large number of people had anticipated an internal candidate (most mentioned name was Todd Bradley), but from left field came Leo Apotheker, former CEO at SAP.

Overall, the first comments were at the genuine surprise at the appointment and the assumption that it will lead to a potential integration of HP and SAP. Both reactions are predictable and understandable.

As an analyst that does not live within 100 miles of I-95, or US-101, in the US, my first reaction at the appointment was happiness that an executive from outside the US was appointed. The countries outside the US provide 2/3’s of HP revenue.  Additionally, the fact that he speaks 5 languages provides significant credit in Europe, and to a lesser extent Asia where multi-lingual capabilities are the norm.

SAP acquisition would naturally be problematic. Some analysts, notably Ray Wang from Altimeter suggest Salesforce as strategically a better acquisition. http://tinyurl.com/2fcevsr

SAP integrating to HP would have a massive impact on the whole partner ecosystem and services market that has built up around the large software providers. Impacts on every services provider would be considerable. HP’s albeit limited services revenue stream from Oracle would dry up, IBM and Accenture would be impacted, and it would lead to further development of service delivery models.

Some have gone hard on the appointment of Apotheker, reaching to his time at SAP, particularly in the big chair there. It does (I Hope) highlight the importance of enterprise to HP’s future and to services and software. That is encouraging from my point of view. There will be executives within HP who decide that they are better placed now outside HP, that would have happened regardless of who got the top job. There are of course educated guesses as to who will leave, but very few people know the inside dynamics of it all.

One thing is certain, that whilst 99.9% of people speculating (including me) may have an opinion on the appointment and the implications, until the full story and outcomes emerge, no-one really knows. The HP board largely has managed the firm with the CEO and management team successfully, though at times having major challenges, e.g. the Hurd dismissal. Lets hope that this appointment is one that perhaps being from left field, is a success that can drive HP, its people, clients and partners to a higher level of outcome and success.  The answer will be clear in the next year, if not sooner.

About capioIT - Phil Hassey

capioIT is an advisory firm focused on helping organisations to understand emerging technology in emerging markets. CEO Phil Hassey established the company in 2010
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