Looks like HP (NYSE: HPQ) might be approaching a critical point later today. Board member Meg Whitman, according to sources, is expected to be announced as the new CEO of the tech giant when the markets close. She would be replacing Leo Apotheker, who has been CEO for less than a year and is, at the time of writing, still in a job.
The news was first reported by AllThingsD, which cited sources close to the matter. HP, of course, has not confirmed anything.
AllThingsD points out that the appointment would probably be a permanent one — not interim. The report follows on from the news yesterday that Apotheker was likely to go and would be replaced by Whitman.
HP, the world’s biggest PC maker, has had a very rocky ride of late, particularly around its investments in the world of mobile. In August, it abruptly announced that it would be discontinuing its mobile devices business, just weeks after launching its first tablet, the TouchPad.
That has thrown its WebOS mobile operating system, used both in its Palm smartphones and the tablet, up in the air: the company has maintained that it would keep WebOS as a going concern, but many have speculated that it would get bought by another company working in mobile, or keen to get more active there — names bandied about have included Facebook, Samsung, HTC and RIM.
Earlier this week it was reported that HP would be laying off around 500 people who worked on WebOS.
People speculating over where HP’s problems first began have been quick to point at management — specifically the company’s board of directors, of which Whitman is a part.
The company has been accused of pretexting, to track leaks it thought were coming from the board, and of mismanagement in how it has appointed people since the ouster of Carly Fiorina in 2005.
One report this morning in the New York Times alleged that most of the board hadn’t even met Apotheker when it elected him as CEO. At least they won’t be accused of that with Whitman.