HP Board Names Apotheker Next CEO

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Computing giant Hewlett-Packard has named former SAP boss Léo Apotheker its next president and CEO, filling the void left by the resignation of Mark Hurd amid an investigation involving inaccurate expense reports relating to a female contractor.

Apotheker will join (NYSE: HPQ) HP and take a spot on the board of directors Nov. 1, replacing interim CEO Cathie Lesjak, who will return to her role as chief financial officer, the company said on Thursday.

The company’s directors also elected Ray Lane as a new member of the board. Lane is a managing partner at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, and will also join the company Nov. 1.

“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,” Robert Ryan, lead independent director of HP’s board, said in a statement. “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.”

Said Apotheker, “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.”

But skeptics might seize on SAP’s lackluster performance under Apotheker’s stewardship, a tenure marked by an inert stock price and an eroding market share at the hands of arch-rival Oracle (NASDAQ: ORCL).

Oracle, it is worth noting, quickly brought Hurd into the fold following his departure from HP, naming the ousted CEO a president of the database giantin a move that sparked a legal challenge from HP. The companies have since settled.

Apotheker stepped down from SAPin February, an abrupt departure for the 20-year veteran of the business software colossus.

He had shared the top spot at SAP with co-CEO Henning Kagermann from 2008 to May 2009, and then served as the singular head of the firm for nine months before his exit.

Shares of HP were down nearly 4 percent in after-hours trading.

Kenneth Corbin is an associate editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

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