It's up to anyone's best PR judgment what's going on behind the scenes at Hewlett-Packard this week, following yesterday's reports that the company's board of directors is considering replacing CEO Leo Apotheker.
HP, yet again, has become the buzz of the week. The most recent report comes from AllThingsD.com, a Wall Street Journal digital publication, that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman will be named as Apotheker's replacement by market close today. Other potential CEOs were also reportedly in the running.
UPDATE: Just after 4 pm ET today, Whitman was named CEO of HP. The company is expected to host an audio webcast about the announcement at 5 pm ET from its Palo Alto, CA, headquarters.Following yesterday's reports of an HP leadership change, the technology company's stock rose by nearly 8%, alluding that this may be a much lauded, and needed change. Over the year, the company has become quite accustomed to CEO transition.
The demise of Apotheker could be attributed to the company's struggles with a number of announcements last month, further confusing the public and key stakeholders. These included an evaluation of its PC business for a possible spin-off, and the Autonomy acquisition. Some saw this as HP indicating it will exit the PC market, but HP then launched a new PC shortly thereafter. The company also pulled the plug on its first tablet offering.
Apotheker said he was not under the impression that his role with the company was being questioned until reports surfaced yesterday, a source close to the matter told Bloomberg.Bill Wohl, the company's CCO who was reassigned last month to concentrate on the software business, was not immediately available for comment. His Twitter handle changed from @billwohlHP to @billwohl61 as of September 13.
One would hope that despite HP's recent communications missteps that this time around a succinct CEO succession will be in place.