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