Hewlett-Packard is one of the world’s largest companies that makes printers and personal computers (PC). Though a successful company, leader, and sometimes giant of the industry, the 21st century has been a tough road for HP, with particular regard for stable and strong leadership. HP is a company that has seen several recent changes in the position of CEO. As of 2012, Meg Whitman is the current CEO of HP. Whitman was the former CEO of eBay, replacing Leo Apotheker, who had the position for less than one year. He was ultimately pushed out of the position by the board members of HP.
The Leadership of Apotheker
During the leadership of Apotheker, HP struggled. The company continued to lead and innovate in the technology and design, but there were many organizational problems that caused many top level executives to abandon ship. Apotheker’s leadership caused the HP stock to drop 20% . (Vance, Is It Time, 2011) He was a fickle man, who would announce changes and unveilings, then routinely change his mind at nearly the last moment. (Vance, Is It Time, 2011) Between Apotheker’s indecisions, organizational chaos, and the expansive success of rivals such as Apple and Google, HP was fraught with obstacles. One of which was Apotheker’s primary goal of shifting HP from a hardware company to a software company exclusively.
How Apotheker became CEO
Apotheker replaced former . He was the replacement for Carly Forlina in 2005. Hurd made early declarations that he was not meant to lead HP for the long-term, setting up a cushion for his hard fall from grace. Hurd was ultimately ushered out of leadership under the context of ethics violations and subsequent scandal. He was accused of sexual harassment of a marketing consultant and creating fraudulent expense reports to disguise his relationship with the women in question. He settled out of court then subsequently and abruptly resigned from HP. Hurd had years prior, testified in a congressional hearing against the then chairwomen of HP, Patricia Dunn, for corporate espionage against members of the HP board as well as members of the press to locate potential press leaks.
CEO Meg Whitman
As aforementioned, Whitman was the former CEO of eBay. Her succession into HP is an external one as she was not directly in line for the position or even an employee or consultant for the company.
HP has not had a strong modern history of leadership and has suffered an array of pejorative consequences as a result. HP is a very public case of how inadequate leadership as well as too frequent changes in leadership do not have positive results for a company, great or small. Perhaps the company’s problems are a sign to reevaluate the whole operation from the ground up, as well as from many other angles. Perhaps then, when looking at the company from fresh perspectives, the HP board can better define the company’s goals and the kind of leader that will bring them to achieve them.
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Swartz, J., & Kessler, M. (2005) H-P likely to face rising challenges from its rivals. USA Today, Money Section 3B, 9-10.
Vance, A. (2011) Is It Time for Hewlett-Packard to Go Back to the Garage? Once an icon of stability, HP is in chaos under CEO Leo Apotheker. Business Week, 1, Available from http://www.businessweek..html?chan=magazine+technology+channel_news+-+technology. 2012 June 18.