Official: Leo Apotheker out as HP CEO, Meg Whitman in | webOS Nation

Official: Leo Apotheker out as HP CEO, Meg Whitman in 64

by Derek Kessler Thu, 22 Sep 2011 4:14 pm EDT

That didn’t take long at all, in every sense of the thought. Less than a year after being brought on as CEO of HP, Leo Apotheker is being shown the door by the HP Board of Directors. His replacement is former eBay CEO, California gubernatorial candidate, and HP board member Meg Whitman.

Whitman takes over HP at a difficult time in the company’s history. She’s the fourth new CEO to take the helm of HP since 2000 (sixth, if you count the interim CEOs). Leo Apotheker has “stepped down and resigned” (i.e. told to do so or be fired) amid faltering earnings for HP and a stock price that’s nearly been halved since he took over. His predecessor – Mark Hurd – was forced out over alleged sexual misconduct.

The stock price has suffered in part due to HP's sagging earnings, which haven't been helped by Apotheker's plans to refoucs on enterprsie software and services while spinning off the PC division of HP and shutting down webOS hardware development (while simultaneously spending $10 billion to acquire a small analytics firm). Yesterday's rally in HP's stock price at the rumor of Apotheker's impending sacking demonstrated the lack of faith investors had in the CEO, and today's CEO shuffle should hopefully put a close to that chapter.

Ray Lane was also promoted to Executive Chairman of the Board, and said that HP is "a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets."

Press release is after the break.

HP Names Meg Whitman President and Chief Executive Officer

Ray Lane appointed executive chairman; Léo Apotheker steps down as president, chief executive officer and director

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 22, 2011

HP today announced that its board of directors has appointed Meg Whitman as president and chief executive officer.

In addition, Ray Lane has moved from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the board of directors, and the board intends to appoint a lead independent director promptly. These leadership appointments are effective immediately and follow the decision that Léo Apotheker step down as president and chief executive officer and resign as a director of the company.

“We are fortunate to have someone of Meg Whitman’s caliber and experience step up to lead HP,” said Lane. “We are at a critical moment and we need renewed leadership to successfully implement our strategy and take advantage of the market opportunities ahead. Meg is a technology visionary with a proven track record of execution. She is a strong communicator who is customer focused with deep leadership capabilities. Furthermore, as a member of HP’s board of directors for the past eight months, Meg has a solid understanding of our products and markets.”

Whitman said, “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world.”

Speaking on behalf of the board, Lane said, “We very much appreciate Léo’s efforts and his service to HP since his appointment last year. The board believes that the job of the HP CEO now requires additional attributes to successfully execute on the company’s strategy. Meg Whitman has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.”

Financial analyst conference call details

HP will host an audio webcast for financial analysts and stockholders to discuss today’s announcement. Details are below:

When: Sept. 22, 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET


It is recommended that attendees dial in 15 minutes early to avoid registration delays.

About HP

HP creates new possibilities for technology to have a meaningful impact on people, businesses, governments and society. The world’s largest technology company, HP brings together a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure at the convergence of the cloud and connectivity, creating seamless, secure, context-aware experiences for a connected world. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at

This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, the results of HP and its consolidated subsidiaries could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including but not limited to statements of the plans, strategies and objectives of management for future operations, including execution of growth strategies, transformation initiatives and restructuring plans; any statements concerning expected development, performance or market share relating to products and services; any statements regarding anticipated operational and financial results; any statements of expectation or belief; and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include macroeconomic and geopolitical trends and events; the competitive pressures faced by HP’s businesses; the development and transition of new products and services (and the enhancement of existing products and services) to meet customer needs and respond to emerging technological trends; the execution and performance of contracts by HP and its customers, suppliers and partners; the protection of HP’s intellectual property assets, including intellectual property licensed from third parties; integration and other risks associated with business combination and investment transactions; the hiring and retention of key employees; expectations and assumptions relating to the execution and timing of growth strategies, transformation initiatives and restructuring plans; the resolution of pending investigations, claims and disputes; and other risks that are described in HP’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended July 31, 2011 and HP’s other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including but not limited to HP’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended October 31, 2010. HP assumes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.

© 2011 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.

Source: HP




I applaud you for having the first comment, and not being a douche and posting the obligatory 'FIRST!!1' Hats off to you, sir.


this isn't as bad as everyone claims. webOS was dead in the eyes of HP. At least this gives a glimmer of hope that Meg can undo whatever it is Leo was thinking (or not thinking). Hopefully she'll realize the potential, and the chunk of the market they now have after the firesale.

webOS was dead in the eyes of Leo... since no other high level execs knew what was going on, if Leo had anyone behind him, it was probably Meg and the rest of/part of the BOD.


Die slow Leo you tard.

I know this won't bring webOS back. HP is doomed anyways. But it gives us a glimmer of hope!

Hi all,

Let's hope the Meg has the wisdom to see that the future is in mobile computing...webOS could and should have been the best thing that ever happened to HP.

I also think the board has to go...why would anyone hire sight unseen Leo or anyone else to run the largest computer company in the world...

Meg has a huge job in front of her...after all there have been 7 CEO's since 1999!

In order for HP to move forward HP MUST bring back webOS!

take care,


Here's to HOPING!!!

what took them so long ....

Goodbye Leo. You won't be missed.

Leo's severance package should be a Sprint Pre.

Best comment ever! +1 for that.

+1 :)

You sir are a gentlemen and a scholar.

And if Tim was writing this, he would say that she plans to license webOS.

Todd Bradley gets shafted again.

He must be REALLY hoping now that she continues the spinoff of the PSG.

no one can be worse than leo. So this is good news.

I do not understand why some people are hostile
towards Leo Apotheker. Without him, how many of
you would get a chance to buy Touchpads at $99?

Whitman is going to do what she does best...
Her experience at eBay will help HP get the
highest bids for the webOS auction. :)

You don't seem to understand that many of us have been using webOS for well over a year, in some cases over two years. For US, we wanted to see webOS continue, and the firesale was a PAINFUL thing to see, because it would be the last webOS devices we could expect to see.

He got you man.

It's called "one step forward, ten steps back". $99 Touchpads is the golden tooth cap you accidentally swallowed and found in the toilet the next day.

Glad to hear it. Leo should have been out right after the PSG announcement and their stocks took a nosedive.

Like everyone else, I'm hoping Meg can bring webOS back from the dead for the third time. Like REALLY hoping.

However, we all have to assume zero news will come from HP about webOS for several months. (I mean, look how long it took Leo to bring it down). And even if they do bring any hardware back, it will be more than a year from now until we see anything.

Either way, I hope this is good news. Her track record was good for eBay, and while I don't support her political beliefs, I hope she can do good at the helm of HP.

I dont think it'll take a year. They can just push Pre 3, TP and TP Go right now. And to me that closing of webOS unit looked like suprise to everyone in company (actually even inside webOS unit itself). So I guess month ago everybody was still working on some upcoming devices.

Yep, they have to have a sizeable amount of Pre 3's rotting in a warehouse, they just got a small production run of Touchpads going again, and that would make it easier for them to get production of the TP Go started or restarted.

I would have to say, though, that unless they're willing to continue selling Touchpads at $99, they should shelf it and get to work on the Touchpad 2.

Touchpads are going for + $300 on, er, Ebay. There's a market, just not at the iPad price point.

That price point is not being set to sell Touchpads though, that's so the greedy people who bought 20+ on the firesale day can make a nice profit.

Doubt they're going to retry the 'disaster' of products they had before. Remember how it came out that they were having trouble pushing the Pre 3 to carriers? Outdated hardware, supposedly.

Also, the TP won't resell in it's current state. You're going to have to develop a whole new product. It's great that the TP was firesaled, but now you need to grab the interest of the consumer on a tablet that isn't $99 because you will never be able to actually sell one at that price again, or money will be lost.

PSG would have a lot of work ahead of them to clean this mess up. Which is why I'm starting to backtrack on the idea that she can revive webOS. Maybe make it attractive for licensing.

If we do get hardware though, you have to imagine HP won't be going half-a$$ed this time and going for the fence instead. Which means, product development that could take a year for release. Unless they revive some old plans... Updated Stingray anyone?

YAHOO! Normally, I feel for anyone who loses their job, but not when they get a multimillion dollar severence!

I wish it were Todd Bradley too, but this is his chance to lobby for keeping the PSG unit & webOS. Let's keep the pressure on him to argue for HP to re-start their webOS efforts!

If Leo didn't last a year, he may not have gotten his golden parachute!

Hoping for the best but . . . when does that ever happen?


I am not surprised Leo is gone. I am surprised they didn't make Whitman the interim CEO while they did a real search that may or may not have ended up w/Whitman leading the company.

For those expecting webOS back in the fold...Whitman was on the Board of Directors the entire time Leo was there. In fact, she was 1 of 5 Directors Leo got appointed to the Board. Maybe I am missing something, but I am guessing the Board knew about and approved Leo's plan--I certainly didn't hear any misgivings from them as I did some other executives/Senior VPs.

I hope I am wrong. Time will tell. Even if she approved the actions before, maybe she will listen to Wall St and what investors thought of the plan.

Well, firing Lay-o means they regret what happened, so there might be more changes of heart coming.

Actually Whitman came on board in January after L.A. was hired.

First: I never take pleasure in any being dismissed from his job.

Second: I'm shaking the floor doing my Snoopy Happy Dance!

Third: I'm returning my Sprint Epic Galaxy S II and returning to my Pre -, The Pre is so damn elegant and intuitive compared to Android.

Fourth: More Happy Dancing!

Get yourself a frankenpre 2 my friend... It was a scary switch for me, but man pre to pre 2 is very very very refreshing experience. You'll do more than a happy dance.

I hope webOS will be revived... But we'll see if everybody still thinks this moving to software/services is good way for HP to go. Anyway, many things had been lost and we'll never see Beats branded webOS phone or Envy...
P.S. I have one tip for them - hire Herbert West to take care of webOS. I just hope it's still fresh enough.

It's too late. He's already in the secret R&D lab powering up his company-funded robot power suit for an 11th-hour last-ditch reign of terror destroying all things useful wherever he sees them. What an a-hole.

Its official HP's BoD are morons.

This is good for Meg, when a company is down in the dumps, then there is only one way to go. Up.When a company is about to die, you have full authority to save the company and can do amazing things. Hopefully she does. Steve Jobs is amazing, but he also came in when apple was about to die, and he turned the company around.

Finally a bit of good news from HP.

Leo was a complete, utter, douche.

History will judge him as one of the most clueless executives to grace the American landscape.

So long Leo .. Your legacy will be remembered just slightly below New Coke.

Well, New Coke did have a happy ending. Let's hope Lay-o does as well (for webOS).

Meg, please answer the call - you have the tools to beat apple and co with WEBOS.

Hiring Leo was a BIG misstake, i hope u guys learnt something.

WEBOS über alles!

"Meg Whitman has the right operational and communication skills and leadership abilities to deliver improved execution and financial performance.”

No, she doesn't, not by a long shot.

But, this the new situation, so, lets hope for the best, and that she does have the ability to be a visionary, and to realize the assets ate her disposal, namely, WebOS, and the hardware it runs on.

Well... let's gonna see what is coming now...

Bill Gates? Gone... Steve Jobs? Gone... Leo Apoetheker? Gone... now, somebody knows some information about Elop? >:-)

Best Regards... B)

Put your politics aside for a brief moment and be very glad they got Meg on board! :)

Anyone that thinks this will change anything is crazy. It's not like Leo would have been doing things secretly without the board knowing about it.
The board just did this so they can blame the failure that is HP on one person and not take responsibility for their own failures, and from the looks of it the stock holders should kick them out.

To Leo: That's what you'll get when you mess with the webOS faithfuls, Punk!

Lets hope that the BOD actually released Layho due to his complete detachment of anything besides Enterprise and Cloud.

Will Meg understand the consumer end of HP beyond Printers?

JUST BRING WEBOS will succeed.

this article made my evening :)

Shut up, meg.

Not sure how good Meg would be, but the firing of Leo deserves some celebration. Where's the fireworks?


there is this 10 billion and change gorilla hanging around HP's neck.. she will have to deal with that as well.. frankly webos in comparison is chump change. i hate to say that but its the truth..

Here is the thing. they didnt fire the webOS developers, just the hardware developers (yes I know supposedly). but they can keep developing webOS and improving on the software. so even though things are all over the place at Casa HP, you have to keep paying the developers and they need to keep working to get a paycheck. what would be a sneaky move would be to keep improving webOS on the sly using the bulk of the customers who bought the touchpads during the firesale to vet the product. then once the manufacturers get tired of being sued by Apple/Microsoft/Googorotola/get showed the power of webOS, HP comes along and licenses the heck out of it. that is what i would do. but then again I only play a CEO on the interwebz.

while I don't genuinely think this will change anything for webOS, though hope is certainly higher, I still find myself humming the 'ding dong the witch is dead' song from the Wizard of Oz.

Let's hope that webos will be back to its glory days!

Good to see Leo gone, but I don't believe she will be 'better enough'. Time will tell, hopefully not in the coming months.

wall street journal said it best. what leo was doing with hp made as much sense as mcdonalds getting out of the burger business. they are the largest computer manufacturer in the world. what are they to do if their computer sales are start dropping due to ipad sales, adapt to the market. start making more mobile devices and smartphones. thats what they need to continue doing. they have no other alternative. we already saw what happened when hp tried to change course. THEY NEED TO STAY THE COURSE. and bring back webos and hardware.

That mug...

What an absolute debacle. Years of public perception as an industry leader down the drain! HP may not have ever been Apple or Google, but now they're not even "HP" and may never be again.

Leo Apotheker is an instant celeb in the tech world for all the wrong reasons.

This is going to be interesting! Too bad us webOS fans got caught in the fallout.

You all rejoice prematurely. Leo is leaving. Meg will see the future and sell Webos as you all want. Leo will quietly take his golden parachute to an unknown company who will buy Webos and he will continue his efforts to develop the OS by doing yet more damage. It's the way all soap operas go. General Hospital or whatever it is that ABC canceled is being replaced by HP Board Room. You just can't make this stuff up.

I think this is a very interesting article which might explain Leo's rediculously-timed announcements on the intended spin-off of PSG:

Whether or not this is linked to the decision to cancel the Web OS devices, I'm not sure.

I saw comments on here that implied or stated that Leo made decisions without the board's full buy-in and agreement - I highly doubt that.

On another note and particularly after the recent response to the firesale of Touchpads, I'm not sure why HP's new CEO wouldn't be happy to do what Microsoft has done for the X-box and sell Touchpads at a loss for a while (even a short while) in order to rapidly build up marketshare and attract developer interest and which would also bolster the chances of selling Web OS licences, particularly given the world now knows that HP eventually wants to exit the hardware business, allowing OEMs to pick up where HP left off on that front.