HP's Board of Directors never met Apotheker before hiring him as CEO | webOS Nation

HP's Board of Directors never met Apotheker before hiring him as CEO 53

by Tim Stiffler-Dean Thu, 22 Sep 2011 11:33 am EDT

Leo Apotheker may be one problem at HP, but the Board of Director's might hold a dozen more. The plot just keeps getting thicker as we watch from a distance as HP, once again, makes huge changes to the way that they are managed. The latest news to come from the Silicon Valley giant isn't from recent events, though. Rather, we're getting a much better picture at the HP Board of Directors itself as we look back on their actions from the past few years - including all of the drama surrounding Leo Apotheker's strange hiring as the CEO. Why is it so strange? Because no one at HP had even met the man before giving him the keys to run the company.

Unfortunately, that's just the start. In his article at the New York Times, James Stewart has shared the responses from several Board members that he had the opportunity to interview recently, and it's all pretty frightening to hear. Directors fighting amongst themselves, firing Mark Hurd, a man who rose HP stock 130% in the five years he was there, before searching out potential candidates for replacement, choosing not to promote from within because they didn't feel anyone was fit for the top job, the list goes on.

When one board member was asked why they hadn't met Apotheker personally, they answered with, "I admit it was highly unusual, but we were just too exhausted from all the infighting." At the time, they didn't even know why Leo Apotheker left his position at SAP, something that probably should have been looked into. And as one Director said candidly of the fighting between members, "It became fractious. There were so many hard feelings. It became difficult to conduct business in a civil manner."

While they were fighting amongst themselves on what to do next, the company was crumbling. Due to Apotheker's recent decisions to spin-off the PC business, focus on Enterprise and software, and discontinue webOS hardware; HP's customers began looking elsewhere for products and services that had a better chance of lasting. In the last few months, HP hasn't just lost consumer business to the likes of Dell and Lenovo, but the enterprise side of things has practically shut-down as well. The company is in limbo, and the world is waiting to see what the Directors will do next to try and rectify things, or if the'll just go belly-up.

Whether or not HP's Directors do decide to replace Apotheker with someone more experienced with the "HP Way" (Meg Whittman has only been a part of the Board since earlier this year), they must absolutely take a better look at how they are acting as the unit that controls the company's future. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and neither will HP unless the Board gets its act together. At the very least they need to learn how to work with each other and not against, rather than continue on with distrust and animosity infiltrating their daily duties. 

If they don't, it will be another long year for HP. Not to mention the hardware-deficient webOS Nation that's still waiting for someone to bring us a new phone and a better TouchPad. You can read the full story and interviews at the source link below, but be warned, it's a doozy.

Source: New York Times; Thanks, GoBears, for the tip!


Classic! This graphic speaks volumes. LOL

I just feel sorry for Picard. It appears that in his morning workout he had a proximal ulnar/radial fracture of his forearm. Hopefully he sees Dr Crusher soon after getting rid of Apotheker, to get some bone regeneration going. Or maybe Data can Photoshop his arm back into anatomic alignment...

Is this really a shock to anyone?


This graphic speaks volumes. I love it. LOL

Meg Whittman was brought to the HP BOD by Leo--her and 4 others. She was not part of his hiring.

Here is what a former member of the HP BOD said in the article:

"It has got to be the worst board in the history of business," Tom Perkins, a former HP director and a Silicon Valley legend, told me.

Unconscionable that these board members take their VERY generous paychecks while acting like 5 year olds. 1000's of people have lost their jobs to actions such as this. These are the fokkers that are flushing a company down the **** Disgusting.

So not only Palm, but it's recent acquisitor, is in ruins? Man, sticking with my beloved Pre 3 is going to be even more fun than I thought!

We former amigans are steel-hardened...

I agree, still running my launch Pre.

Course I used AmigaOS, then OS/2, then BeOS, now webOS.
I need to really stop using awsome operating systems.

Hey, it ain't all roses and rainbows for us Macintoshians too, y'know! As in, like, just like Bronze Medal winners in a race, Amigans are content with the fact that they "made it" and won *A* medal. Likewise, just like Gold Medal winners, Windows is happy to have won. Macintoshians are the proverbial Silver Medal winner... extremely upset that they had a chance to be the Gold Medal winner, but are "forced" to accept a measly second place Silver Medal. (Mind you, I'm talking about the Macintosh, and not Apple itself. I mean, even though Apple is in "First Place" with the iOS, the Macintosh and what little effort Apple is putting into the Mac relative to the iOS is a whole other story...)

Fortunately a lifetime of "Second Place" has given me the strength and patience to be a webOSian, to be able to be patient and willingness to wait until something great finally happens with it. It may take fourteen years to become number one, which is how long it took Apple to go from zero to hero, but I'm willing to take that risk in waiting...

Glad to know I am not the only one...

- Amiga 1200 and Pre3 forever!

Does anyone know how many TP's were actually made and or sold. It would be nice to know about how many TP owners we are dealing with. Do we actually have enough to compete with the other tablets?

no precise solid numbers have been revealed, but it's believed that the total already shipped is around 800 to 900 thousand. the upcoming 'final' production run is expected to be between 100 and 200 thousand units. So the overall total installed base world-wide will be ~ 1 million touchpads, +/- 10%.

That is awesome. Thanks for the information. That right there is enough to put WebOS in the running for continuation, should the question arise with the board. If there is a lack in major complaints, I, don't see why they should not seriously consider starting hardware back up. Fire sale the rest they said they would, and after that number has gone out, put the price at 350 and continue with production on the other items.

but its safe to say that a good %25 of that is sitting in scalpers closets trying to make redicoulus amounts of profits on them

I really don't think a quarter million in scalper's hands is plausible. 25,000.

With hindsight being 20/20, it would have been nice had HP originally passed on Palm and webOS and let it fall to someone else. We knew something was wrong when the "we didn't buy Palm to be in the phone business" comment (no matter how many times they tried to justify/defend the comment) happened, had we only known how far off the track HP would take everything...

Think where webOS might be had Mr. Hurd been able to keep his privates in his pants.

For what its worth, the Wall Street Journal (and some other articles) have indicated that Hurd DID "keep his privates in pants". I think the WSJ quote was "a **** scandal without any **** . Newer articles refer to improper expense reporting. Typically, I would say no BOD would remove a successful CEO without solid proof, but this BOD is clearly capable of something so foolish.....

hindsight - maybe for you and some, but I remember quite vivdly being minused here when complaining about the acquisition, and questioning that webOS needs someone who can execute anfd put it on a decent/great hardware... Was it a foresight then, you think?

I always preferred HTC to win the bid for Palm, as the most logical thing, the best synergy from Palm/HTC points of view, and a match made in heaven.

Unfortunately, I suppose Ruby & Co. weren't too keen to report to people in Taiwan (how horrendous!), so he & pals have taken Palm for a ride...

No kidding. This was obvious to anyone besides irrational webOS fans.

If RIM or Nokia had purchased Palm, that would have been AWESOME because at least we know that they would have TOTALLY dedicated to the webOS's success, seeing as their ENTIRE company is based on mobile technology.

But, the reality is that Palm and webOS belong to HP, so all we can do is hope that HP-under-Meg doesn't mess things up like HP-under-Leo did.

the "we didn't buy palm to be in the phone business" quote was always misunderstood. Hurd meant that HP planned to do a lot with webOS, the point wasn't just to sell phones. It was a statement being made to INVESTORS, to assure THEM that HP hadn't spent 1.2 billion dollars just to make a couple of bucks in the low-margin phone business, that there was more to it than that.

unfortunately Hurd was kicked out, and when he went so did his plans for webOS. Leo came in looking for any excuse to get rid of webos, and might have even taken steps to sabotage it (insisted on using already designed bits from a older HP slate, probably had a hand in setting the launch price too high)

There are a couple HP laptop ads on the right of this article when I was reading this article... classic!

Don't think those are going to convince me to buy from them.

"Not to mention the hardware-deficient webOS Nation that's still waiting for someone to bring us a new phone and a better TouchPad."

. . .

For the record... I'm not waiting on a "better TouchPad." I love my TouchPad. Absolutely love it. And webOS is amazing. With nearly a million TouchPads now in the hands of consumers, and webOS in second place in the tablet market, I also wouldn't say that it is "hardware-deficient." It's the future that has everyone concerned. Will HP continue to support webOS, as they claim? Who knows with Leo in charge. Hopefully the board straightens this garbage out, reverses the decision to kill mobile and split off hardware, and puts a lot more focus on improving and promoting webOS.

...future? what future? We have a proverb in my country: "it is not time to shed tears over flowers, when the forests are burning", which means exactly that; webOS' future, is less than zero currently - being on board of a sinking ship, that is being torn apart by the vultures in management who know how hot their seats become, and will cling to them regardless anything. webOS is least of the problems on their minds.

The biggest problem on their minds is, "how to not get fired?". And you don't take risks, do not make bold moves in times like this, if you are one of them...

There is another saying, four in fact:
* "Anything done by man can be undone by man."
* "A sinking ship means new homes for fish."
* "Business is business."
* "Never say never." / "Never say die."

There IS always a future for ANYTHING, so long as the person in control of that something is willing to do what it necessary to give it that future.

Leo's actions against webOS can be reversed quite easily. For example, just because current mobile networks have sworn off webOS, it doesn't mean it's permanent. Because unlike individual people who hold things against other, businesses are willing to forget that they were treated poorly... albeit for the right price.

Furthermore, just because the "ship is sinking" it doesn't mean opportunity is sinking with it. New life is ALWAYS available for anything that people want to keep alive; consider how even LATIN (the language) is still kept alive even though it is most certainly a dead language. **** there are speakers of KLINGON.

As for "business is business"; people will eventually forget all this HP bull as long as HP is willing to take the steps necessary to ensure that people forget. I mean, consider how very few people know or remember that Apple was inches away from death back in 1997... unlike nations which regularly pound into people's heads the fact that bad things happened in their past (the American/French/Russian Revolutions are all part of the respective nation's education), Apple has done EVERYTHING it could to make people forget that it ever was close to death. So much so that people assume Apple was ALWAYS big, ever since it came into being in 1976.

But most importantly: "Never say never." and "Never say die." If HP REALLY wanted to, webOS will have a future. More so, HP will also ensure that people forget that all this bull with Leo ever happened and will work towards getting consumers to focus on what HP is doing NOW (which is whatever hardware and service they are currently providing).

webOS's IMMEDIATE future is in question, sure. HOW will HP salvage their relationships and help revitalize webOS is certainly the $10,000 Question. BUT as long as HP is willing to put in the time, money and energy into it, then webOS WILL pull through and come back to life.

In ANY case, however, the ONLY people who has the power and authority to determine whether webOS has a future or not is HP. That is to say, if webOS has no future, it's not because the critics or consumers declare it as much, but because HP themselves said "The End" AND doesn't sell Palm off to someone else.

TL;DR: It ain't over until it's over.

....hey, that's probably the FIFTH important saying here! :P

I'm buying HP stocks. Anyone wanna sell? :D

lol, just wait for the $0.99 fire sale

Hi all,

Yikes...what a bunch of losers...SACK THE WHOLE LOT OF THEM!

Take care,


if not for Leo's $99 fire sale, they wouldn't have sold any Touchpads.

Palm Pre/Pixi/Touchpad/Veer/webOS was doomed to FAIL long before Leo/HP.


you're an idiot. The touchpad would have sold quite well if lauched at $399 for the 32GB, with the 16GB being the value option at around $329.


nah, I still wouldn't have gotten into the tablet market on those prices. It wasn't until I got my 32 gig on the firesale price that I made the leap.

As stated, the board consists of 50% new players that were hired after Leo took office. I'm wondering if that 50% came to their senses and demanded a replacement for Leo. I'm also hoping it's not Whittman and either an insider like David Donatelli (head of the business in charge of servers, storage and networking) or an outsider like Steve Mills from IBM.

say it with me now:


hey hp shareholders, put me on the board! I can't be worse than this!

hp should spin off a division call "webOS" not headed by hp current staff or potential hp employees, they should hire the people at webOS internals, precentral and the homebrew community. These are the people who have shown the unity for a product the BoD should be showing, they will not let webOS fail and they know what it'll take to bring it in the future. What better devotion can an employer want? I love the "palm" name but wouldn't mind carrying a phone branded "webOS internal" or such.

yes and appoint Santa Claus as CEO with the Easter Bunny as CFO.

If HP is to survive, the board needs to be fired along with Leo.

I cant stop LMFAO! :D With such comedy gold, PC should sell tickets. I would buy a virtual front row seat. This just keeps getting better and better.

The funniest part is that so many of us have been saying from the beginning that HP didn't have a plan. All the while, defenders were convinced that HP had some masterful plan that would all be revealed very soon. Just wait a little longer. They kept asking what made us think we knew better than the leaders of a multi-billion dollar corporation. They insisted that we were just trolling and stiring the pot. Mostly, we were trying to tell you that the car you are in has a driver who is drunk and asleep at the wheel. You kept insisting that it was just brilliant driving and could not be understood by the likes of us. We shrugged and watched. Is there any wonder that we can't stop laughing at the wreckage?

There is a real problem when almost everything ever said by a detractor turns out to be true. I know this seems like gratuitous shodenfrauda, but there is more to it than that. This community, and I don't mean the editorial staff, has been mean-spirited, vindictive, vitriolic, and seething with poisonous disdane toward any who dared stray from the party line and voice a favorable opinion about other products not made by Palm. This made for an unnecessarily adversarial dialogue in the forums, and fostered many hard feelings. The editorial staff, on the other hand, has always kept both feet on the ground and gave honest and realistic opinions. The podcast is one of my favorites because I always feel like I am getting the real story without the BS. If this attitude had existed in the forums, it would have been a happier place for everyone.

Sorry about the rant. I've got a feeling I am not alone, though.

…And yes, the entire board has to go!

Problem is I have yet to see anyone who predicted that:

1) The then current CEO would be ousted over a faux **** scandal.
2) The company would hire a new CEO from outside with a totally different philosophy
3) The company would throw in the towel on their 'marathon' after 6 weeks.
4) That HP would actually make a number of phones and tablets (a fact) but would shoot themselves in the foot almost at every turn.
5) Not only that they would pull out of the phone and tablet market, but the entire consumer electronics market, despite being the worlds #1 PC maker

Those are the facts, that the results are the where they are now... as the expression goes "even a blind squirrel will find a nut occasionally"

Have you counted how many of the detractors comments were totally incorrect, if you want to be truly 'fair and balanced'?

I do believe I was not the only one who said that Hurd was a great CEO, maybe not for WebOS's interests, but for HP. I know I am not the only one who said that Leo was bad news for HP and WebOS, even though people around here wanted to believe the BS he spouted. Many recognized the fact that HP was a bad fit for Palm in the best of circumstances, as HP has done nothing but fail with smartphones and tablets, and combining that with Palm's ineptitude would just equal more fail.

We also predicted that HP would end up failing or bailing on WebOS because when they saw it, the first thing they thought about was printers. Phones were only ever an afterthought. When we saw the 2/9 event, we predicted that WebOS was not long for this world based on the strategy they tried to articulate at the time. Starting with the P2, then the Veer made it perfectly clear that WebOS was not long for this world.

We mocked the idea of HP's reach, scale, and leverage in the mobile space. We were vindicated when it was clear that HP couldn't find carriers that wanted to deal with them. When we pointed this out, others said that it was all a part of the secret program to get back onto Sprint. There are some in the forums who are still waiting for Sprint to announce the P3 on their network.

We said that pricing the TP the same as the iPad was insane. One of DK's rare editorial missteps was to write a front page piece defending that position, only to be embarrassed days later.

I could go on, but the point should be made. We were not fortune tellers; we were reading yesterday's newspaper. Most of these things were obvious if one did not have a personal stake in the matter. It has been obvious for a while that HP is a bunch of idiots. The defensive response was to ask how many companies have we run, and comments about armchair CEO's. Well, I have run two less companies into the ground than Leo A.

This is not about being hyper-critical. It is about being realistic. Again, the editorial staff have always done a great job at keeping it real. Just repeating what they say on the podcast in the forums could get you banned. That is the great disconnect. Even now, you respond like an adversarial apologist, rather than one who has been consistently wrong about almost everything. The ones like you who keep fighting, even though the war is over, and constantly see the WebOS cup as half full, and who foster false hope, are doing this community more harm than I ever could. Palm, then HP did what they did each step of the way with full support from the community when the community should have said a long time ago that things are going in the wrong direction. Perhaps if HP had gotten a bit more push back from the faithful instead of blind support, things may have turned out differently. Too late to be mad at HP now. You should have rioted a long time ago.

If true, well i told you HP has a history of stupid CEO hires. Meg Whitman will be the next stupid hire.

honestly here politics would mean i'd never buy HP. Not that i'm out buying printers and stuff often.

Lovin the pic, tim, loving the pic!

I'm kinda worried about Captain Picard's arm though... he'd best be off to see Dr. Crusher!

Someone needs to hold a board to get rid of that Board of Directors...

Found this article from earlier this year: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_06/b4214033456884.htm

Sheds still more light on what has been going on with that wacky board of directors.

FYI, although I first read this news at webOSroundup, I posted the link to this article at PreCentral because WOR's site wouldn't let me.

My question is, "how long has Apotheker been working for Apple?" He has managed to infiltrate and destroy the company from the inside and keeps attacking on all sides.

Hi all,

The only way HP can now survive as a computer company is to go in the direction of mobile computing and undo the damage that Leo did to Mark Hurd's Brilliant move in buying webOS in the 1st place!

take care,


It is really offensive to drag down the reputation of Star Trek by connecting them in any way with the HP Board. Captain Picard will set his phaser on Kill when he hears about this.

He is too busy with facepalm hearing about HP to get his phaser.

love that meme. Does anyone know which episode that scene is from?

I don't know which episode the base image is from, but you'll never find an exact match as the image has been photochopped... either that or Picard is in serious need of medical attention as his right arm is broken!

you know after discussing this whole situation with my father he did mention that all of this could have been planned by the board of directors. The goal was to lower HP stock by hiring some idiot of the street that knows nothing of the business. Let him run the company down and lower the stock value. All the while the bod is buying tons of stock at the lower price. Make themselves look like incompetent idiots. Fire the idiot ceo and hire a more competent ceo and attempt to turn things around and bring the stock back up. With the end result of them making millions on the stock they bought at the lower price.

Double facepalm indeed...