HP shares up on CEO ouster reports

Sep 21, 2011
Hewlett-Packard shares surged on Wall Street on Wednesday amid reports that chief executive Leo Apotheker, pictured in 2010, hired less than a year ago, could be on his way out.

Hewlett-Packard shares surged on Wall Street on Wednesday amid reports that chief executive Leo Apotheker, hired less than a year ago, could be on his way out.

HP shares gained 6.72 percent to close at $23.98.

The technology blog AllThingsD, citing "sources close to the situation," said former eBay chief executive is being considered by the HP board of directors as a possible candidate for CEO.

AllThingsD cautioned, however, that Whitman's appointment to head the Palo Alto, California-based HP, the world's largest computer maker, "is by no means a done deal."

"But a significant contingent on the board is keen to remove Apotheker after what some directors consider is a series of management mishaps," the Dow Jones-owned news site said.

The New York Times said the HP board met Wednesday to consider replacing Apotheker.

Contacted by AFP, an HP spokesman declined to confirm or deny that a board meeting was taking place and said the company does not comment on speculation.

Apotheker, a veteran of German business SAP, took over HP in November and has been refocusing the company on software and cloud services -- offering applications and storing data over the Internet.

HP shares have fallen more than 40 percent since Apotheker replaced , who resigned following a accusation.

HP shares plunged 20 percent on a single day last month after Apotheker announced a dramatic strategic shakeup that includes spinning off its PC business.

HP announced on August 18 it was exploring a spin-off of its PC unit and buying British enterprise software company Autonomy for $10.24 billion as it refocuses on software and technology solutions.

In a further move away from the consumer space, HP said that it was stopping production of its TouchPad , its rival to Apple's , and phones based on the webOS mobile operating system acquired from Palm last year for $1.2 billion.

HP began laying off employees in its webOS unit on Tuesday.

Last week, an HP shareholder filed suit against the company in California accusing HP executives of painting a deceptively rosy picture of the firm's prospects.

The suit specifically targeted Apotheker and chief financial officer Catherine Lesjak.

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