The end of the Alchemist Leo Apotheker – The HP Board needs to be held accountable


UPDATE: Meg Whitman, ex CEO e-Bay, appointed as CEO. Board still needs to be accountable, and those members responsible for the process of Leo Apotheker appointment should be fired. 

As the public obituaries are being written for Leo Apotheker and his overall negative tenure at HP, it is clear that there is immense frustration within the executive management, Board and employees at his performance and the outcomes of it. Do not forget the problems and dislocation for partners, suppliers and of course customers of HP. Then there are investors, former employees and others invested parties.

The point is a very large pool of related parties has been negatively impacted significantly by the decision that was made by the HP board. For mine, the long term board members responsible for his appointment must come clean and largely fall on his/her sword. HP historically has had fundamental cultural strength around governance and integrity. Clearly the long-term board members do not inspire faith in either. HP investors with clout: Here is your opportunity to make good and have a positive influence and improve the value of your customer’s pension funds.

I wrote earlier that Apotheker would be considered successful if he could get IBM running scared. https://capioit.wordpress.com/2010/10/11/when-ibm-fears-hp/ Unfortunately for HP, he has allowed IBM and others to run scare campaigns at the future of HP, rather than running scared from HP.  I also wrote that HP needed to have more Asia Pacific board presence http://wp.me/p15cZf-1c and understand emerging markets.

Who should take over? – Some former Silicon Valley heavyweights have been mentioned, notably former E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman. Despite a recent executive purge, there are still a number of internal candidates. In my view, the clear internal candidate would be Dave Donatelli, though my ideal would be someone from emerging markets, who gets Silicon Valley who can get HP even more focused on delivery of the opportunity presented.

Bottom line – If the HP board believes in governance, then key members must resign with the CEO. The new CEO must have a board who manages him, and be capable of turning around a company that still has immense residual respect and influence in the market.

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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