Knives out for Leo Apotheker

HP’s board has apparently met and decided to remove its CEO and action man Leo Apotheker after less than a year on the job.

The plan is to replace him temporarily with former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

According to Reuters, HP’s board of directors is furious after it ended up facing shareholder lawsuits and criticism from investors after Apotheker started to change the outfit from a hardware company to something a little like SAP

Apparently, it has not been announced yet because they still cannot agree on whether to name Whitman as the interim CEO.

One thing seems certain, Apotheker is being thrown to the wolves. We are not sure why. In 11 months he has slashed sales forecasts repeatedly, backtracked on promises to integrate webOS software into devices, and struggled to halt a 50 percent plunge in the share price.

When he did have a strategy, it involved turning HP in to a version of his old company SAP.

Apotheker also spearheaded a deal to buy British software maker Autonomy that many considered too costly.

The cocaine nose jobs at Wall Street have been enthusiastic about the rumours. It seems that the only way Apotheker can boost the outfit’s flagging share price is by starting rumours that he is about to leave.

The shelf-life of a CEO at HP is largely dependent on its board. So far, it has gotten rid of three that it did not like. Before Apotheker, there was Hurd, who was ousted last year after a scandal involving expense reports and a former soft-porn star. Before Hurd came the winsome Carly Fiorina who was fired for buying Compaq.

Apotheker’s reign was doomed from the start. But lately Chairman Lane had been taking a more visible role in past weeks, including holding the CEO’s hand when he went to visit investors to try and sell HP’s strategy.

He replaced Apotheker at an industry conference to defend HP’s change in strategy and clear the confusion that followed in the market. It does not look like HP will walk away from the Autonomy deal, apparently the board liked it.

It is a bad end for Apotheker.  If you are going to be fired from HP it is better to have been caught having dinners with a soft porn star on expenses.