Hewlett-Packard announced Thursday it was naming former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman as its new chief executive. Meg replaces current chief executive, Leo Apotheker, who lasted less than year in the job. Whitman has served on the board of HP since January. “I am honored and excited to lead HP. I believe HP matters – it matters to Silicon Valley, California, the country and the world,” said Whitman in a statement.
This is an interesting move for the company considering HP is in the difficult stage of trying to reinvent itself away from selling traditional computers and printers to consumers to pitching technology services and products to businesses. The company has had seven CEOs since 1999. That makes Jennifer Lopez’s divorce record look downright boring.
This is a time when HP needs a lot of innovation and Whitman was actually criticized for not showing as much innovation in her last few years at eBay as some of her competitors like Amazon. “Our concern would be that she doesn’t have a lot of enterprise and technology experience,” said Jayson Noland, a tech analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. “She’s not the most obvious choice to me.” But according to The New York Times she was chosen because she has a “track record of successfully managing a large, complex business, her communications skills both internally and with Wall Street and her ability to lead senior executives through corporate transitions.” All of these things were considered to be Apotheker’s shortcomings.
Meg ran for Governor of California last year to Jerry Brown. She spent $140 million of her own money on the campaign.