Rumors of the ousting of Hewlett-Packard CEO Leo Apotheker drove the tech company’s stock up over seven percent when deliberations among the company’s board of directors leaked in published reports.
The notion of ousting Apotheker and potentially replacing him with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman seemed to please investors Wednesday, who along with a number of analysts believe that the company is in dire need of a shake-up.
Apotheker has been head of the struggling Silicon Valley company since November of 2010, and since he took control HP’s stock has slipped nearly 50 percent. In August the company adjusted earnings prospects as much as $4.86 per share, and revenue of as much as $127.6 billion — both of which were below analyst projections, according to The Associated Press.
Before his current position heading HP, Apotheker was the CEO of business software engineer SAP AG, beginning in April 2008, but he was forced out of that position less than two years later. When he came on board as CEO at HP it was theoretically to steer the company away from controversy that included the departure of former CEO Mark Hurd, which was tinged with a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Apotheker’s has said that during his reign HP has been hindered by Hurd’s under-investment. Still, Apotheker received wide criticism for his decision-making in selling HP’s personal computer division. Many feel that Apotheker waffled over selling the business outright or it holding it after an auction to gauge interest.
Potential HP replacement Whitman’s back story could prove controversial as well. The former eBay CEO resigned in 2008 after 10 very successful years with the company. She did however just spend $174 million in an unsuccessful Republican campaign for California governor in 2010 – shelling out more than any candidate for a statewide office in U.S. history, according to the AP.
On Wednesday, HP shares rose $1.65, or 7.3 percent, to $24.12.