Hewlett-Packard has ended its search for Mark Hurd's successor. The computer maker has named Leo Apotheker president, CEO and a member of the board of directors. The former SAP CEO spent more than 20 years at SAP, where he drove success in business software. He is credited with helping to develop and implement the most significant changes in SAP history.
"Leo has been a leader in anticipating the transformation taking place in our industry, and we believe he is uniquely positioned to help accelerate HP's strategy," said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of the HP board. "He has demonstrated success in the U.S. market and also has vast international experience -- which will be a major asset as HP continues to expand globally, particularly in high-growth emerging markets."
Ready for the Revolution
During his tenure at SAP, Apotheker focused heavily on R&D and technology platforms and expanded business models and customer segments. He also helped lead SAP to 18 consecutive quarters of double-digit software revenue growth between 2004 and 2009.
"Given HP's diversified products and services, its financial strength, and its leadership position across markets, no other company is as well positioned to drive -- and profit from -- the revolutionary changes under way in the marketplace," Apotheker said. "As we move forward, HP will continue to be a valued partner with our customers as well as a fierce competitor. I look forward to working with the outstanding people at HP to write the next chapter in the company's long and proud history."
A Software Focus
Al Hilwa, an analyst at IDC, said Apotheker's appointment could give HP more of a software orientation. Apotheker is a strong choice from a software leadership perspective, he said, and could be a good choice to lead HP into cloud computing and virtualization markets.
"In some sense, this appointment signals that software and hardware are probably going to come together in the future," Hilwa said. "HP has purchased some software companies, like Mercury Interactive and ArcSight. I wonder if that implies a buildup on the software stack as well. HP has certain software strengths in selective areas, but by no means a full portfolio like IBM and Oracle."
HP's appointment of Apotheker shuts the door on the Hurd drama. Hurd stepped down as chairman, CEO and president of HP in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment and improper conduct that sent shock waves through the high-tech industry. Within days, he landed a position as co-president of Oracle.
HP's board also elected Ray Lane, managing partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as a new member of the board and designated him as non-executive chairman. Previously, Lane served as president and COO at Oracle.