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Sources Say Meg Whitman To Become HP CEO 277

Posted by timothy
from the gossips-you-mean dept.
MrCrassic writes "Looks like HP needed yet another remodeling, as they are tapping Meg Whitman to take Leo Apotheker's chair by this afternoon. From the All Things D article: 'Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is poised to be named CEO of Hewlett-Packard later today after the markets are closed, said multiple sources close to the situation. The full board of HP, which is meeting today in Silicon Valley, has not officially voted on move and the situation could certainly change, but sources said it is nearly a done deal.' Cringely got this one right."
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Sources Say Meg Whitman To Become HP CEO

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  • Maybe HP will actually try to compete with somebody, again.
    • by nxg125 (30911)
      webOS is still around, though it's clear they don't know what the hell to do with it. Bring back the hardware, maybe?
    • Its dead Jim


      Sent from my Palm Pre Plus

      :(
      • Worst. Idea. Ever.

        You thought Carly was a disaster? Just wait. Someone needs to clean clock over there. Now.

    • by elrous0 (869638) *

      Actually, they've made so many bonehead moves over the last decade that I become convinced that the whole company is some sort of Producers-esque scam and the board is intentionally trying to crash it. Appointing Meg Whitman, who was notorious at eBay, pretty much confirms my suspicion. If Rod Blagojevich wasn't facing prison time, they probably would have appointed him. Hell, they still might.

      Next up is putting Lindsey Lohan in charge of marketing and launching the HP Goliath, they'll tout as the "World's

  • Who is going o buy HP next year?

    If you are an HP employee, I would seriously consider getting the hell out on your own terms, and soon.

  • Really? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bmo (77928) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:35PM (#37481404)

    Another "brand is everything, fuck product" CEO? Another CEO that never ventured anywhere near an engineering department or shop floor?

    Another CEO that thinks selling technology is like selling colored sugar water? Another Scully, but for HP?

    Short HP. Short it to 0.

    --
    BMO

    • Re:Really? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squidflakes (905524) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:41PM (#37481480) Homepage

      I thought this article was posted on the Onion at first.

      You know, this is why I need to land me that first CEO job. It seems that no matter how badly you fuck up, no matter how many pooches you screw, no matter how toxic you are to shareholder assets or confidence, and no matter how much of a buffoon you make of yourself, as long as you've been a CEO, you will always get hired.

      • by jeko (179919) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:15PM (#37481902)

        ...it's who you know.

        I work for a company that supports other companies, so I get to see a lot. I've seen a few people succeed on merit. I've seen a lot more succeed on relationships. I've seen a wife hired as a technical team lead. Problem was, she literally knew nothing about anything. I mean, she couldn't even type. One of the junior engineers was assigned to "assist" her. She got all the title, credit, and salary. He took all the blame. She took her string of "successes" and moved on to a higher management position, having established her technical skills. He got saddled with a lousy reputation for screwups and had to start over at a different company. We got called in to put out the fires and clean up the messes and billed them like there was no tomorrow, so we kept rooting for the trophy wife.

        I could also tell you about the son of a company president who destroyed a network, had his Dad call us, and then got all kinds of kudos for a brilliant job recovering and redesigning the company's infrastructure during a crisis. No one ever asked what caused the crisis, of course.

        Like I said, we're "hired guns," and we get paid, so we're happy. But my college delusions of meritocracy and the rewards of hard work and skill have not survived contact with the real world. :-)

        • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

          it's who you know.

          I think it's who you blow.
          Or:
          Sometimes you have to give a little head to get ahead. :)

        • by Xacid (560407)

          I have to know what amazing company you work for. And then I also want to make a movie about this.

      • It seems that no matter how badly you fuck up, no matter how many pooches you screw, ... you will always get hired.

        I have been saying the same thing for who knows how long, but I usually say, "They could film these people eating live babies and someone would still hire them because of their "experience"."

        Of course, this is also the fourth way to be successful; be a failure. It seems the more you fail, the greater you are wanted.

        In case you are wondering, the first three ways to be successful
      • Re:Really? Really? (Score:4, Informative)

        by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday September 22, 2011 @02:11PM (#37482612)

        If you think *that's* funny, do you know who Google recently hired as head of their Apps security division? If you guessed "a former TV-psychic" congrats, you win [wikipedia.org]!!!

    • Nevermind the facts (Score:2, Informative)

      by scottbomb (1290580)

      "During her ten years with the company [eBay] she oversaw expansion from 30 employees and $4 million in annual revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in annual revenue." - wikipedia.

      Yeah, she really dropped the ball there.

      Frankly, if I were her, I'd think long and hard before attaching my name to the trainwreck that is HP.

      • by sunspot42 (455706) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:55PM (#37481644)

        Wait, the moron who bought Skype - and didn't bother to check to see if she was getting the patents - is going to somehow turn HP around?

        Yeah. Right.

        Meg Witless could barely run a taco stand, let alone HP. She made Carly Failorina look competent. eBay was a great idea - which she had nothing to do with - and Meg rode that idea along with the dot com boom to "success". Once the boom ended, so did eBay's growth. It's been pretty much stagnant since.

        The only smart move eBay has made in the past decade or so was buying PayPal, and that was a no-brainer everybody and his brother suggested eBay do. Their attempt to become another Amazon has only succeeded in devaluing their core auction business.

        • by Dynedain (141758)

          eBay was a great idea - which she had nothing to do with - and Meg rode that idea along with the dot com boom to "success"

          To be fair, most dot-coms, even those with "good ideas" didn't survive. Ebay and Amazon did something right to make it into profitable long-standing businesses.

      • by barc0001 (173002) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:58PM (#37481674)

        Building a website based company is completely different from running a hardware company. Witness Carly Fiorina's tenure for an example of how that goes, and even she was kind of selling hardware at Lucent. Ebay had no supply chain to deal with, HP is nothing BUT supply chain. Also, let's not forget that the explosive growth of eBay was one of these right place right idea right time once in a lifetime things.

      • Frankly, if I were her, I'd think long and hard before attaching my name to the trainwreck that is HP.

        It all depends on what they want her to do. Oversee development, manufacturing, logistics and retailing of hi tech consumer products for a global market? Maybe she should think about it carefully. However if they want her to auction off the assets of HP then maybe she wouldn't need to think about it as much.

        • by PPH (736903)

          If there are any parts [slashdot.org] left to auction by the time she gets moved into her corner office.

          Leo must have seen this one coming [cringely.com]. In many companies, its common practice to have a security guard escort employees on their way out to make sure they don't sabotage something. Why not in this case?

          • by gtall (79522)

            Because it would be easy to find him and sue his balls off, he has a lot to lose whereas joe-schmoe hasn't got squat.

          • by perpenso (1613749)
            Golden parachutes are dependent upon proper behavior.
        • It all depends on what they want her to do.

          Bingo. If they are looking for someone to fill in for a few months in the CEO chair while they look for a long term replacement, I could see Whitman doing that. She knows what it's like to be CEO of a big company and while she has little enterprise experience she could keep the parts moving for a while without blowing things up. Big companies generally can operate on autopilot for quite a while regardless of who is the person in the corner office.

          On the other hand if they want her to be more than a short

      • by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3r.gmail@com> on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:19PM (#37481958)

        Because that's the only metric to go on, right? To say nothing of the fact that she squandered $2.5 billion on Skype, she oversaw upheaval of the rules that led to mass exoduses away from eBay, and really just kinda rode the dot com boom up to the top.

      • Frankly, if I were her, I'd think long and hard before attaching my name to the trainwreck that is HP.

        Actually there is minimal risk. HP is currently such a mess that if it fails on her watch many would accept the notion that it was inevitable, that HP was beyond the point of no return. However if she turns it around she may be viewed in a manner "comparable" to Steve Jobs 2.0 at Apple. As an investor may say, there is far more potential upside than there is potential downside.

      • by timeOday (582209)
        Riding a natural monopoly to the top is awesome. Can she find something like that for HP to focus on?
    • by mewsenews (251487)

      Someone in a previous article mentioned that Cringely predicted these events back in February:

      http://www.cringely.com/2011/02/why-leo-apotheker-will-be-fired-from-hewlett-packard/ [cringely.com]

      He said "Meg can knock back brewskies as well as any man and will probably fill those CEO shoes even better than Apotheker."

      She will probably put the reins on the death spiral that Apotheker only accelerated.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      Fuck, if anything, HP needs a completely product focused CEO. Forget the sales, leave that to the President or one of the VPs. HP needs a CEO that is just going to focus on getting new, innovative, desirable product, and getting it out the door.

    • Brand is everything if you think about it. A brand is just the attributes that people use to describe your product or company. If you sell shitty product, then you'll have a brand of shitty quality products. Let's be honest, most consumers don't understand technology and even fewer can predict what's going to be the next big thing in tech, so consumers use brand to differentiate products and reduce selection complexity. They assume that the higher the price the better the quality, be damned if it doesn't wo

  • Dreamworks (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:35PM (#37481412) Journal

    Most people don't know that Meg was with Dreamworks during their heyday and she directed eBay to some amazing success.

    She's 100% awesome.

    I think this is a great move for HP and I hope that she can fix the company that Leo Apthaker broke, mostly because I really like HP and I was really sad to see them going down the wrong path.

    • by sirwired (27582) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:03PM (#37481724)

      The vast majority of HP's revenue comes from enterprise markets, which Meg Whitman has zero experience with. Any experience she might have had dealing with end users kind of got a bit less important when HP decided to ambiguously throw the PC division under the bus. HP makes both eBay and Dreamworks look like tiny, insignificant companies. And eBay already had pretty much a monopoly in online auctions since day one; all she did there was not screw it up. (She also bought PayPal, which turned out well, and Skype, which didn't.) By the time she left eBay, as a mature company, it was adrift with no path to growth. HP is already a mature company and any growth is going to have to come the hard way, which she doesn't have any experience with.

      I'm not saying she can't pull it off, just that she has no background in HP's primary markets to help her along.

      And it wasn't Leo that broke HP. That started with Carly, continued with Chainsaw Mark, and we simply have no idea what would have happened with Leo, since he hasn't had the job that long.

      • by Jawnn (445279) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:25PM (#37482028)

        The vast majority of HP's revenue comes from enterprise markets, which Meg Whitman has zero experience with.

        OK, I just have to jump in here. CEO's, on the scale of businesses like HP, don't deal with end-users, enterprise or otherwise. They don't need "shop floor" experience, though that never hurts. They certainly don't need experience in this or that product line. What they do need, in spades, is the ability to pick the right people to work immediately under them. Product strategy isn't set in a vacuum by CEO fiat. HP's recent missteps positively reek of a cadre of VP's who are little more than "yes men", toadies who are unwilling to point out the emperor's nudity, or worse, who lack the chops to run their divisions. That HP missed so badly on their table execution demonstrates a failing far deeper than the myopic CEO who green-lighted a major product without realizing the gaping hole in it (no apps).

        Maybe Meg can turn that around. First sign that she can will be a major shakeup at the VP level.

        • OK, I just have to jump in here. CEO's, on the scale of businesses like HP, don't deal with end-users, enterprise or otherwise. They don't need "shop floor" experience, though that never hurts. They certainly don't need experience in this or that product line. What they do need, in spades, is the ability to pick the right people to work immediately under them. Product strategy isn't set in a vacuum by CEO fiat.
          Actually, since what Leo did was try and remake HP as SAP, it does sort of happen by CEO fiat. A
        • by sirwired (27582)

          Firstly, the CEO of a company like HP deals with C-level executives of companies they are trying to sell many millions of dollars of gear and services to all the time. Meeting with client upper management is one of the bedrocks of the CEO's job with companies that sell to other large companies. In fact, I'd say that the CEO's of enterprise companies have MORE interaction with their customers than a company like eBay.

          No, they don't absolutely have to have "shop floor" experience, knowledge of the industry,

    • by k6mfw (1182893)

      > and she directed eBay to some amazing success.

      I'm not sure about this, yes ebay is amazing success but for who? It is no longer an online garage sale where individuals can easily sell things, it is now dominated by dealers with buy-it-now. I used to do a lot shopping on ebay (unique items whether it be Gina Lollobrigida photos or 2-way radio and accessories) when many sellers were simply people with things they want to unload. Nowadays it's all fulltime sellers listing same ol' same ol' over and ove

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        I miss the old ebay where unique one-of-a-kind items can be found. Maybe they still exist but swamped with too much crap.

        Ditto. I used to buy a lot from ebay auctions and got some good deals and weird stuff that I'd never have found elsewhere; I've hardly bought anything from them since they became just another storefront site a few years ago.

  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:35PM (#37481416) Homepage
    Titanic going down, replace the captain? That's how a committee / board thinks.
    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      If the ship keeps hitting icebergs, you might want to look at the captain.

    • by nomadic (141991)
      "Titanic going down, replace the captain? That's how a committee / board thinks."

      What's the alternative?
      • by jazman_777 (44742)
        For the board to resign?
        • by s73v3r (963317)

          If the board resigned, then they can't really do anything to try and fix things. That's just them saying that this is going down, and they're getting the fuck out of there.

      • by dkleinsc (563838)

        Based on most committees, the clear alternative is to go to the captain and order him to get busy rearranging the deck chairs.

        (Interestingly, on the actual Titanic, Edward Smith and his officers did what was probably the right thing with their boss: did their best to keep him busy with useless stuff, and on one occasion told him off so they could get back to work)

  • Hopefully Meg will work out well for HP ... but the revolving door CEO the last couple of years is pretty sad - gotta wonder about the Board and the whole pretexting scandal by Chairwoman Dunn was pathetic ... Hewlett and Packard must be rolling in their graves over all the drama at HP.
  • by jeffmeden (135043) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:40PM (#37481470) Homepage Journal

    So HP, fresh on the heels of several disastrous CEO tenures, one of which happened to include a certain would-be politician running the company virtually into the ground, decides that hey it's time for a fresh attitude, let's find another failed female politician to come set things straight... Is there ANYONE at HP with a memory that goes back more than 5 minutes?

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      So HP, fresh on the heels of several disastrous CEO tenures, one of which happened to include a certain would-be politician running the company virtually into the ground, decides that hey it's time for a fresh attitude, let's find another failed female politician to come set things straight... Is there ANYONE at HP with a memory that goes back more than 5 minutes?

      Hey, I bet Michelle Bachmann is about to be available, after running her train-wreck of a presidential campaign into the ground. She should fit right in at HP. Maybe she can figure out a way to sell tablets for less than $100 a pop. Oh, wait...

  • by Nichotin (794369) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:44PM (#37481520)
    So that you actually get someone who understands the company and the products, in that doesn't...
    • HP sells printer ink, right? do they need so many people just to do that?

      (HP was once great. sun was once great. so was DEC and so was SGI. now, all gone. what the hell happened to this world?) ;(

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        HP sells printer ink, right? do they need so many people just to do that?

        (HP was once great. sun was once great. so was DEC and so was SGI. now, all gone. what the hell happened to this world?) ;(

        We have Apple... And Google. After all, what would the US do if there weren't a hefty demand for marketing executives? I mean shit, it's not like they can just take any old job.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The MBAs took over.

        • by bmo (77928)

          This.

          So. Much. This.

          "You don't manage people. You manage machines. You lead people" - RADM Grace Hopper.

          --
          BMO

        • by JWW (79176)

          oooooh, damn I wish I had mod points.

          The entire concept that "Management" is a core discipline that someone can learn and then they can run _any_ type of company, even with no understanding of it whatsoever is one of the worst things to have come out of the 20th century, and looking at that century, thats really saying something.

      • by barc0001 (173002)

        HP sells ink, inkjet printers, laser printers, large scale printers and plotters, scanners, copiers, high end costs-more-than-a-porsche-copiers, servers, network equipment, big iron servers, SANs, and medical imaging devices. They're not in the same category as SGI or DEC as their product line is still broad.

        • by gtall (79522)

          Come to think of it, how is HP doing in those areas. Most of us are damning them for a revolving CEO and their PC madness. However, if the rest of their product line is holding their own, then maybe there's more to HP management than we've been telling ourselves.

          That said, their printers have gone downhill. No doubt to keep up with the...what's Jones in Chinese...Wangs. Their mid-range line is built to last until the product warranty expires, but not beyond.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jandrese (485)
      One of the problems with this strategy on failing companies is that the smart people realize early that the company is going down and get out. This accelerates the death spiral as only the deadweight remains, but also makes it difficult for someone internally to step up and save the company since anybody who could have done that left already. This is why failing companies need people from the outside to save them.
      • If all the competent workers have already left, no CEO would be able to save the company because there's nobody left to actually get things done.
        If the company is full of good workers, the only thing that will make them leave is bad management decisions.

        The best management can do is stay out of the way.

  • Selling it now cheap! Only a thousand bucks!

    Seriously, there's nothing left here. Unless Meg has an amazing trick up her sleeve (and she doesn't), there's no saving this downward spiral.

    Last I checked, she's just another MBA with no idea how to run a technology company. She's *not* Steve Jobs, who actually can bring a company back from disaster.

    And that's what HP really needs. A Steve Jobs type, someone who can turn a company around and move it into a new market. HP has been, for more than a decade now a "m

    • by bmo (77928)

      Steve Jobs types have emotional capital invested in their companies.

      They give a shit. It's not just a job. Steve Jobs came back aboard Apple with a One Dollar salary and no golden parachute. When he stepped down as CEO, Tim Cook didn't get a golden parachute either (he's gotta work for it for 10 years if he wants to be vested in a dime of stock). That's the way it should be done.

      I defy anyone to find an MBA gun-for-hire that give a shit if a company fails or not, especially if there's a golden-parachu

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      I have to say, that would be extremely interesting to see what Steve Jobs could do at HP. Even more interesting to see the competition between him at HP and his proteges at Apple.

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      Clearly, they need to hire this guy [woz.org].

      He:
      * has top-notch understanding of what it takes to build a PC
      * has a prior relationship to HP
      * co-founded a highly successful technology company
      * is not a complete power-hungry jerk
      * knows better than anyone else how to identify "Steve Jobs types"

      Of course, there's one problem: He has way too much sense to take the job.

  • by prgrmr (568806) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @12:56PM (#37481658) Journal
    will be to announce that HP will accept payments only in the form of major credit cards or PayPal.
  • Get your HP short positions in order!
  • What HP needs? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:01PM (#37481708)

    HP (not Hewlett-Packard anymore) needs an inspired engineer or two--with dominant shareholdings--to run the company. They will never get that. They will die. RIP HP.

    A company populated with brilliant hardware engineers would be well-positioned to make a fortune as the robotic age dawns. That kind of HP is dead.

    Their leadership is dead. Their board is just a bunch of greedheads looking ahead only as far as the next quarter's stock price.

    • by Da_Biz (267075)

      HP is already dead: they died when they turned their backs on what Bill and Dave said in "The HP Way".

      To me, the _real_ HP (engineering and innovation focused, not the "brand machine" someone mentioned earlier in this thread) is Agilent.

  • by Kabloink (834009) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:02PM (#37481720)

    Gr8 ceo,xcellent profit maker ,highly recommend AAA+

  • by Magnus Pym (237274) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:09PM (#37481808)

    Didn't both Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman run as tea-party candidates last year?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by s73v3r (963317)

      Not full tea party candidates, as that would never really fly in California.

  • Bought by GM in the 80s

    Spun off into its own company in the 90s

    Bought by HP in the 2000s

    And now? We're in the next decade, time for something to happen. Will this be some kind of a record?

  • According to Wikipedia:
    As Hasbro's Playskool Division General Manager, she oversaw global management and marketing of two children's brands, Playskool and Mr. Potato Head starting in January 1997. She also imported the UK's children's television show Teletubbies into the U.S.[17]

    NOT ONLY Mr. Potato Head, BUT teletubbies too!!

    I can not think of someone better qualified to bring HP out of it's nose dive... than the manager of Mr. Potato Head's manager.
    Clear sailing for HP

    Man, I really hope HP can pul
  • You can use your newly released HP 12c Anniversary Edition (or 15c Limited Edition) to calculate how much stock you want to sell and/or short. Hopefully the company doesn't tank and take the calculator division with it before selling it off.
  • is that she best not cancel my Sargasso Sea-becalmed TouchPad order, or I will get plumb sideways with righteous fury.
  • The HP board really knows how to pick 'em, doesn't it?

    It is a testament to the employees resourcefulness that HP is still as strong as it is after this remarkable serial abuse by incompetent top management. Not sure how much more abuse the company can take.

    Good luck!

  • FOOLS RUN THE WORLD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by transami (202700) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @01:53PM (#37482406) Homepage

    Why is American business dying? Because our stinking rich business leaders are now a bunch of incestuousness nepotistic numb-nuts. Hiring Meg Whitman is such a bad idea that I half expect Mr. Packard himself to rise up out the grave and eat the board's brains (as little as they have between them).

    HP is all but dead. Tablets are going to eat PC and printer sales and that will be that.

    But what bothers me most is that HP is taking webOS, arguably the best platform out there, down with it.

  • by afabbro (33948) on Thursday September 22, 2011 @02:50PM (#37483034) Homepage

    From what I've read, Whitman is a placeholder. She's a director and is going to step in and run things until they find a permanent CEO.

    If they consider making her permanent...Whitman is the wrong person for the job. She spent 30 years in consumer tech and HP is trying to focus on enterprise IT. Unless they plan to ditch that and do a 180-degree change and go back to PCs, tablets, and phones, she's a bad fit.

    She is also an idiot. eBay buying Skype was one of the dumbest moves of all time.

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