The Business On... Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard
Stephen Foley is a former Associate Business Editor of The Independent, based in New York. He left in August 2012. In a decade at the paper, he covered personal finance, the UK stock market and the pharmaceuticals industry, and had also been the Business section's share tipster. Between arriving with three suitcases in Manhattan in January 2006 and his departure, he witnessed and reported on a great economic boom turning spectacularly to bust. In March 2009, he was named Business and Finance Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards.
Friday 23 September 2011
The comeback queen?
On the verge of being named chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, according to reports last night. Yes, the former eBay boss and failed gubernatorial candidate is about to sip from the poison chalice of tech, taking over the C-suite of the world's largest computer manufacturer.
What about whatshisname?
Leo Apotheker, the blink-and-you'll-miss-him chief executive? In less than a year at the helm, he presided over a 47 per cent share price fall and a strategy review that horrified investors. The rumour that the board was considering firing him sent the shares soaring, and when you find out your chief exec is worth minus-$5bn, you kind of have to fire him. That's two major tech companies he has been fired from in three years (the last one was German software giant SAP).
She wanted it. I'm not being facetious – the fractious HP board has a habit of undermining and then firing its CEOs, which makes hiring tough. Ms Whitman joined HP as a non-exec this year, and she is keen to rehabilitate herself after a humiliating run for Governor of California last year.
Ms Whitman dipped into her $1.3bn fortune to fund the most expensive electoral campaign in history and still lost. Revelations she had an undocumented immigrant as a housekeeper rather undermined her anti-illegal immigration stance. One assumes her keenness to get back into business means she no longer hopes for the vice-presidency slot in a Mitt Romney-style White House bid.
Is she qualified to run HP?
Oh, that little matter. Neither was Mr Apotheker, who was a software guy. Ms Whitman at least has a robust CV, including a stint as a consultant at Bain Capital, where she met Mr Romney. She started out in sales at Procter & Gamble and she joined eBay when it had just 30 employees. As for running a hardware company managing a difficult transition to software and services – well, investors will take some convincing.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...
£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...