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Friday, September 23, 2011
HP Names Whitman CEO, Apotheker out

Hewlett-Packard named former eBay Chief Executive Meg Whitman its president and CEO, replacing Leo Apotheker.

The decision was made without a formal CEO search and piled renewed criticism on the board, which investors have blamed -- at least in part -- for the storied company's recent missteps.

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 Leo 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 Leo'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."

Analysts had speculated that Apotheker's departure might presage a backtracking on major decisions taken during his 11-month term and announced on August 18.

A year on the job, Apotheker, formerly SAP AG CEO, slashed HP's forecasts for three straight quarters and struggled to reverse a 50 percent plunge in the share price.

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