Now HP gets to run Meg Whitman

Forgive me for confusing HP with the lunatic asylum run by the patients…

Leo is out. Meg is in. What a difference a day makes. Thursday it was officially announced that Leo Apotheker was ousted as CEO and that Meg Whitman would take over.

Well – actually it is HP going to run Meg Whitman – not the other way around.

HP is very different from most other companies in that it consists of a number of semiautonomous divisions that live in their own world and often do not coordinate work with other divisions – just because they happen to be part of the same company.

Leo Apotheker reputedly left with $38 million in his pocket, which is not a bad send off after all. Before you start complaining about his compensation then remember that he was hired to lead a company, where the previous three CEOs had been fired.

Also HP suffers from an acute personality crisis. Back in the days of Carly Fiorina she defined HP as the world’s leading consumer company. During Mark Hurd he defined it as the world’s leading enterprise company. Hardly the exact same thing. The two different profiles need two completely different types of executives and Mark Hurd was actually doing a very good job until he was caught with his fingers in the expense jar.

Now it is up to Meg Whitman not to run the company, but to coordinate what the various divisions are up to and probably also make sure that the PC business, for the foreseeable future, stays inside the company in order to at least avoid erosion of sales due to uncertainty.

We wish Meg the best of luck – she is going to need it.S|A

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