HP has named Leo Apotheker as CEO.
Apotheker was CEO of SAP until February when he resigned after SAP decided not to renew his contract.
Apotheker was only solely in charge of SAP for 7 months. (He was co-CEO for a year prior.) He was with SAP for 20 years.
This is a surprising move from HP, as most people believed HP would hire from within.
Specifically, Todd Bradley, head of the mobile and PC division was seen as the potential pick.
In the release announcing the hire, HP said Apotheker, “transformed R&D and technology platforms and expanded business models and customer segments,” at SAP. Apotheker was in sales at SAP.
Apotheker’s short stint as the boss at SAP did not draw rave reviews, but he may have inherited a bad situation. He took over just after the recession was at a low point.
There were missteps, for sure: The ‘Olive Branch’ to Larry Ellison (re: Sun and European holdup) that backfired; the ill-advised “pledge” to get to 10,000 Business ByDesign customers by 2010; the maintenance embarrassment and flap with SUGEN; and simply not having the ability to anticipate and act on the historic transformation happening in enterprise software, and why Big ERP is D.O.A.
But somebody at the top had to be out, right? Somebody had to be the fall guy, right? Somebody needed to be blamed for SAP’s misfortunes, right?
In many respects, I always felt like Apotheker’s reign was similar to U.S. President Barack Obama—both men inherited a glamorous, high-profile position that was in a world of hurt when they were sworn in.
Though a seasoned executive with over 20 years with SAP, Leo was in the wrong time wrong place. He was responsible for doing a bang up job in sales when Henning Kagermann (i.e. the former CEO) was around. In fact, he made Henning look good despite the difficulties in launching mySAP ERP 2007, SAP ByD, and a host of other failed projects. Unfortunately, he entered a down market while in charge of a sinking ship. Low morale among the Walldorf engineering team, the issue with Enterprise Support and maintenance, and uncontrollable poor quarterly performance proved to be factors beyond his control. Customers over the past 2 to 3 years began to wonder how to tap SAP’s innovation. A clear need emerged for having more technologists at the helm.
And here’s one more from Bloomberg:
Apotheker was not agile enough to counter Oracle’s efforts to steal away customers and the board received results of an internal employee survey that showed that he failed to inspire workers, said Gartner’s Otter.
“The recent employee survey highlighted that under Leo, employee morale dropped significantly,” he said. “This was a major influence on the board’s decision to change.”
…”When you look at SAP’s performance in 2009, it was really dismal, from a financial perspective,” said Paul Hamerman, an analyst with Forrester Research in Virginia. “I think the 2009 earnings call less than two weeks ago signaled the beginning of the end of Apotheker. Apotheker projected a persona that was defensive rather than a man of vision.”
HP’s stock is tanking on the news. It’s down 4% in after hours trading.
HP also announced that Ray Lane from Kleiner Perkins would be joining the company’s board.