HP names Leo Apotheker, former SAP co-leader, as new CEO

Leo Leo Apotheker, 57, is a German native with extensive global experience in high-tech field

HP Thursday (Sept. 30) named Leo Apotheker, former CEO of the German software giant SAP, as its new CEO.

The 57-year-old German native and graduate of Jerusalem's Hebrew University worked at SAP in a variety of positions for more than 20 years.

Apotheker replaces Mark Hurd, who led HP for five years before resigning in August after the company found discrepancies in his expense reporting and investigated sexual-harassment allegations against him.

"Leo is a strategic thinker with a passion for technology, wide-reaching global experience and proven operational discipline -- exactly what we were looking for in a CEO," HP board of directors member Robert Ryan said.

"After more than two decades in the industry, he has a strong track record of driving technological innovation, building customer relationships and developing world-class teams."

Ryan said Apotheker is "a leader in anticipating the transformation taking place in our industry" who has "demonstrated success in the U.S. market and also has vast international experience."

Apotheker speaks five languages – English, Dutch, French, German and Hebrew – and was awarded the French Legion d'honneur in 2007 in recognition of business leadership and contribution to the French economy.

Apotheker resigned abruptly from SAP in February.

As a member of the company's executive board from 2002 until earlier this year, he led worldwide sales, service and field operations; turned around the company's North American operations; and led more than a dozen acquisitions, including to $7 billion takeover of Business Objects.

Apotheker is vice-chairman of the supervisory board of the French company Schneider Electric SA, and is a member of the board of directors of GT Nexus, as well PlaNet Finance, a French non-profit organization that works in the area of microfinance.

Also Thursday, HP named Ray Lane, a managing partner with Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, to its board of directors.

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Like this comment
Posted by HPQ
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 30, 2010 at 7:06 pm

HP stock price is tumbling after this announcement.

Like this comment
Posted by Outside Observer
a resident of another community
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:22 pm

Good news for City of Palo Alto managers.

All their computer hardware is HP, and they run the SAP business management software at a cost of $$$ millions.

After all CPA is a multi-national, multi-billion dollar enterprise that needs something the scale of SAP to run their 2-bit operation.

Good news for the managers, bad news for the taxpayers.

Like this comment
Posted by opus
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Sep 30, 2010 at 8:46 pm

Sell, Sell, Sell!!! After reeling from Carly's reign why go backwards? Guess running a company that sells printer ink as their main source of income doesn't take a forward thinker.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

I wonder how an economist can help HP regain its technical edge?.

Mr Apotheker also did not make himself many friends among SAP’s customers, nor among employees whom he laid off in droves.
He insisted on increasing customer maintenance fees, which customers have to pay to get upgrades and support on products they have previously bought.
The plan was scrapped shortly before he left SAP after months of bitter complaints from customers.
Mr Apotheker was fired from SAP in less than a year.

It is surprising that HP did not promote an insider--some key executives,Todd Bradley, Ann Livermore and Dave Donatelli, who wanted the job must be very disappointed.

Also the retirement age for HP CEO is 60yrs, Mr Apotheker is 57---so he has got 2 years to get HP in shape to compete with IBM, Oracle and Cisco.
The market is not impressed with the boards choice--HP is down 4% today.
However, Mr Apotheker can live happily ever after--

he will get a $1.2m base salary, a $4m signing bonus, a relocation allowance of $4.6m, and 76,000 shares of restricted stock.

Not bad for 2 years work?

Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 1, 2010 at 11:22 am

Interesting that SAP is a big competitor of Oracle and Larry Ellison. . Is this H-P's revenge-time? SAP and Oracle have a history of legal wrangling. Something doesn't smell right.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 1:38 pm

At a time where many European companies look at the Valley for inspiration--- Cisco, Apple, Google--- it’s totally beyond comprehension that HP the company that started it all picks a guy from Europe with such an undistinguished record.

The more I think about the more odd the choice seems, he is an economist, not an engineer or an MBA, he is 57 yrs old, he lives in Paris--- very strange.
He speaks 5 languages? well thats a good qualification for a translator at the UN--

Why was he fired as CEO of SAP in less than a year, he was very bad for morale when he was there and did not get alone with people, he also laid off nearly SAP 4,000 employees within months of becoming CEO--- sounds like an older version of Hurd with a foreign accent.

Maybe the real reason for hiring him may be because he knows SAP inside out, and SAP may just possibly be a neatly fitting takeover candidate, that might look nice on power point at a BoD retreat-- in the old days.
SAP and HP are completely different cultures-- they would waste years in futile effort to mix oil and water while Oracle, IBM and Cisco surge ahead and take all HPs customers and talent.

"I thought it would be difficult for HP to hire an outsider and have its stock to go down, but this board seems to have found a way," Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall said.
HP needs an energetic technology visionary with a knack for organic growth and innovation and instead got a relic from the past---

Like this comment
Posted by Susan
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 3:24 pm

All I can say is that Cisco is giddy about this choice!

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 1, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Yes, Cisco,IBM and Oracle are all very happy--the people who will suffer are the HP employees and HP shareholders--actually they have already seen their investments crash.
Can anyone justify this decision? WSJ, Economist,IBD and the Tech press all think it is a disaster---- what is the logic behind the BoDs decision in this matter?

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 4:30 pm

The Oracle speaks

"Larry Ellison, the outspoken CEO of Oracle, said he is having trouble finding words to describe his reaction to H-P naming former SAP chief Leo Apotheker as its new top man–and then found plenty of them.

“I’m speechless,” he wrote in an email to the Wall Street Journal. “HP had several good internal candidates…but instead they pick a guy who was recently fired because he did such a bad job of running SAP.”

An H-P spokeswoman said Ellison’s comments don’t “deserve the dignity of a response.”

H-P declined to make Apotheker available." Web Link

The clot thickens-----

Like this comment
Posted by Moi
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Ouch. Even more of my bucks have evaporated.

Like this comment
Posted by P'ville
a resident of Professorville
on Oct 2, 2010 at 9:59 pm

It sounds like it is time for HP shareholders to form their own mini-Tea Party and replace the board of directors. It seems that CEO-wise they have made a string of bad decisions. Still, it's not really fair to fault Leo Apotheker just yet. What does not work at SAP just might at HP.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 2, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Short the stock or sell makes sense--what a shame--HP started Silicon Valley and now it is in the hands of an undertaker -- come November first.
He will sell the body parts-- is the prediction.

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