HP CEO: Apotheker Out, Whitman In

HP, now with more CEO craziness!HP CEO Leo Apotheker is out of work after only 11 months with the company and was replaced by Meg Whitman on Thursday. Ms. Whitman has served on HP’s board of directors, was previously eBay CEO, and unsuccessfully campaigned to be Governor of California.

Mr. Apotheker’s ties to HP are being completely severed since he is also stepping down from his roles as HP’s president and director of the company. Ray Lane was bumped from non-executive chairman to executive chairman of the company’s board of directors, too.

Mr. Apotheker’s departure came amid controversy over his announcements that the company was planning to spin off its lucrative PC business to focus on being a software and service company. He also axed webOS and the company’s TouchPad tablet after only 49 days on the market, along with its webOS-based smartphones.

The company has since cut a few hundred jobs from its webOS team, calling into question the money HP spent to buy Palm. When HP bought the former champion of the PDA market, it acquired the company’s webOS and smartphone product line, and used the talent to build the TouchPad as a potential rival to Apple’s iPad.

Word that Mr. Apotheker was out and that Ms. Whitman was taking over leaked out ahead of HP’s official announcement, and this isn’t the first big leak in recent months. Information about the proposed PC business spinoff surfaced ahead of a presentation by Mr. Apotheker’s, as did word that the TouchPad and webOS were getting the axe.

Ms. Whitman will be holding a company-wide presentation on Friday presumably to discuss her plans for HP and her role as the new CEO.