UPDATE: And it’s official! Apotheker’s gone. Meg Whitman is HP’s new CEO.
EARLIER: We’ll admit that we were a bit startled to hear that the HP board is already throwing in the towel on CEO Leo Apotheker after less than a year.
We were also startled to hear that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman was his rumoured replacement.
Meg did a great job at eBay in the early years, but she checked out in the later ones, and the only thing that HP and eBay have in common is that they’re both in the Valley.
What we’re most startled by, however, is the speed with which the Valley’s tech pundits have gone public to ridicule the idea of Meg running HP.
Here, for example, is Elevation Partners partner Roger McNamee, as quoted by David Streitfeld in the New York Times:
“The notion that H.P. can be fixed by adding a celebrity chief executive is laughable.”
(OK, maybe Roger’s trashing HP, not Meg, although the “celebrity CEO” barb certainly isn’t a compliment).
And here’s Charles House, a former HP engineer, also quoted in the New York Times:
Ms. Whitman would be “an unmitigated disaster…Her style is so arrogant it gags.”
And Yale School of Management Jeffrey Sonnenfeld:
“It’s not a ridiculous choice…But they could have done better.”
Not exactly raves.
Meg certainly doesn’t need the money–she’s an eBay billionaire–and one suspects she also doesn’t need the headaches. So one wonders whether the Valley-wide Bronx cheer will have her and the HP board reconsidering.
UPDATE: And it’s official! Apotheker’s history. Meg Whitman is the new HP CEO.
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