HP taps ex-SAP CEO as its new leader

Leo Apotheker, CEO, HP
After a nearly two-month search, the world’s largest IT company recently named former SAP chief executive Leo Apotheker, 57, as its new president and CEO, replacing Mark Hurd.

Hewlett-Packard has elected to go the road less travelled to find its new CEO. It was a move few industry people saw coming.

In choosing Apotheker, HP bypassed several highly placed insiders, including Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP’s US$40 billion Personal Systems Group (PSG); Ann Livermore, EVP of HP’s $54 billion Enterprise Business unit and a 30-year HP veteran; David Donatelli, EVP and GM for Servers, Storage and Networking; and Marc Andreessen, entrepreneur, HP board member since 2009 and creator of Moziac, the first graphical Web browser.

The HP board also named former Oracle president Ray Lane to its membership. Naturally, Apotheker will join HP’s board of directors. Both appointments are effective 1 November, 2010, the company has stated.

Apotheker’s resignation last February came as SAP was locked in a fierce global market share battle with Oracle over the enterprise business applications that both companies develop and sell. These applications include accounting, financial management, general ledger, human resources and others that are the operational bedrock of all large enterprises.

His resignation also came a little more than a week after SAP announced a 12 percent decrease in operating income for the full year 2009.