11:24am

Wed September 21, 2011
The Two-Way

Reports: Hewlett-Packard May Tap Meg Whitman To Be Its CEO

Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO and 2010 Republican candidate for governor of California, may be Hewlett-Packard's next CEO.

The Wall Street Journal's All Things D blog and Bloomberg News are reporting they've been told by sources familiar with the H-P board's thinking that directors are meeting to talk about whether to move current CEO Leo Apotheker aside and install Whitman (possibly on an interim basis, Bloomberg says) in the chief executive's office.

Apotheker became CEO last November, as the San Jose Mercury News reminds us. He replaced Mark Hurd, "who was ousted ... after being accused of falsifying expense reports in a controversy that started with an allegation of sexual harassment by an HP contract employee."

The Mercury News writes that "H-P has been the world's leading PC-maker for the past five years, after buying one major rival, Compaq, and overtaking another competitor, Dell, in the race for market share. But its business has been under increasing pressure, both from the introduction of such alternatives as the iPad and from competition with low-cost manufacturers that have forced HP to keep its prices and profits down. Since taking over the top job, Apotheker has announced that HP will spin off its core personal-computer business, end its foray into the tablet business and purchase British software company Autonomy for more than $10 billion."

Bloomberg notes that Whitman, "who joined Hewlett-Packard's board in January after a failed bid to become California's governor last year, had a mixed record at EBay. As CEO for a decade, she took the company public and pioneered online commerce for small businesses. Yet she also failed to halt a slowdown in revenue growth and overpaid for Skype Technologies SA after a three-way bidding war with Google Inc. and Yahoo! Inc."

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