HP’s New CEO: Leo Apotheker of SAP

Hewlett-Packard has named Leo Apotheker as its new CEO and President, not the expected Todd Bradley, who had been an early conjecture for many analysts.  The company had been looking for a new chief ever since Mark Hurd stepped down from the position. Apotheker, former CEO of SAP, will also be joining HP’s Board of Directors. Another new Board member is Ray Lane, Managing Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, who is also a non-executive Chairman.

These new appointments take effect November 1, according to the company’s released statement.

Apotheker served at SAP for over 20 years, leading it to become a globally recognized brand. With a range of experience sectors in R&D and a background in technology platforms, he will become quite a resource for HP in its latest strategy towards growth in new areas.

HP already has its sights set high for the upcoming challenges, putting projections for next year’s revenue higher than expected. During its analyst event this week, HP has been decidedly mum about a new CEO until now, wrapping up a chapter in the executive saga that spilled over into a fight for 3PAR’s chunk of the cloud. HP can work towards refocusing its vision around mobile and cloud sectors.

“I’m surprised that they went with an outsider, but I can understand why they did it,” says SiliconANGLE editor John Furrier.  “HP is clearly sending a message to the marketplace that they are focused on execution and innovation. His R&D background and transformative experience in his resume speaks to the problem HP has with their innovation image.

“This is precisely what HP needs – an operational leader who gets technology. This is exactly what I predicted in my previous posts. The other angle on this is that HP is a massive corporate conglomerate with each group essentially it’s own company. Gone are the days of the rock star CEO for HP. Now it’s about performance and tuning the engine of HP, both financial and product-wise. The real power at HP will lie with the division heads like Dave Donatelli, who heads up the converged infrastructure group roughly a $40b business unit.

“At the end of the day the old HP way is long gone and now it’s time for them to find the new HP way. I hope that the spirit of Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard can find their way into that new way. That was a vision of corporate innovation, technology, R&D, citizenship, respect for the individual, and financial performance. That will be the standard in which I will be judging the new CEO and his direct reports of general managers (quasi-CEOs).”

Another cloud company, FalconStor, had some executive shake-ups as well. Jim McNiel is the company’s interim CEO, as ReiJane Huai has stepped down.  Below, find HP’s full release:

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 30, 2010

The Board of Directors of HP today announced the election of Léo Apotheker as Chief Executive Officer and President. Apotheker, who previously served as CEO of SAP, will also join HP’s Board of Directors. The 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. Both elections are effective November 1.

During Apotheker’s more than 20 years at SAP, he was a driving force in making it the largest business software applications company in the world. Apotheker helped develop and implement the most significant changes in SAP history. During his tenure, he transformed R&D and technology platforms and expanded business models and customer segments. Apotheker also helped lead SAP to 18 consecutive quarters of double-digit software revenue growth between 2004 and 2009.

Lane has served on the Board of Directors of more than 20 public and private companies and joined Kleiner Perkins in 2000. Previously, he served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Oracle Corporation. Earlier in his career, Lane also worked at Booz Allen Hamilton, EDS and IBM.

“Léo 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,” said Robert Ryan, lead independent director of the Board. “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 continued, “Léo 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. 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. HP has the right assets and market positions, and now we have the best team to realize the company’s enormous potential.”

“HP has a powerful mix of businesses, products and services, one of the most innovative cultures in the industry, and an accomplished management team who have played a critical role in its success,” said Apotheker. “I am deeply honored to be joining the more than 300,000 dedicated HP employees.”

Apotheker continued, “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. 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.”

“I am excited to join the Board of this pioneering company, and look forward to working closely with Léo – and the rest of the Board and senior management team – as they capitalize on the changes taking place across the industry,” Lane said. “I have known and admired Léo for almost 20 years. He is ideally suited to build on HP’s strong foundation, leverage its many assets and keep the company at the forefront of innovation.”

Apotheker will succeed Cathie Lesjak, who was named interim CEO in August 2010. Lesjak, who has served as HP’s Chief Financial Officer since January 2007, remains CFO and continues to serve as a member of the Executive Council. Ryan said, “Cathie is and will continue to be an important part of HP. We are extremely fortunate to have one of the deepest, most talented senior management teams in the industry and to have someone of Cathie’s caliber lead HP during this interim period. On behalf of the entire Board, I would like to thank Cathie and our senior management team for maintaining HP’s focus on serving customers and continuing to execute our strategy.”

Ray Lane Has A Purpose For HP
@billsaysthis points out something worth noting …the Oracle angle with Ray Lane.

Here is my angle. It’s all about Mark Hurd. Getting Ray Lane puts a political checks and balance on Hurd. Why? Hurd has the deep secrets and battleplan for HP. HP and Oracle recently reached a settlement over Hurd’s knowledge of HP trade secrets and IP. That being said everyone knows that Hurd could leak it to folks internally to Oracle. Having Ray Lane on the board gives HP deep access to many relationships at Oracle that will enable HP to keep an eye on Hurd. HP will be on the look out for any movement for Hurd. If Hurd blinks BOOM HP will jam him hard.

Having Ray to watch out for Hurd will be the primary objective. Lane secondary purpose will be to bring a software perspective. He has tons of experience in the industry (software) where HP needs the most help going forward. Help in the form of managing the new CEO who is from SAP and for positioning HP in the ever growing “new” software market from infrastructure to applications to mobile devices.

Thanks to @billsaysthis for tweeting – he sparked this angle. Thanks Bill

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