HP shares up on CEO ouster reports
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 Meg Whitman 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 software giant 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 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 tablet computer, its rival to Apple's iPad, 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.
(c) 2011 AFP