OK, fire HP CEO Leo, but don't hire Meg Whitman!

Meg Whitman (DUOC)

Richi's Rant: The rumor runes say Leo Apotheker is to be replaced by Meg Whitman. That's the stupidest idea I've heard in months. Find out why, in The Long View... So, the HP board of directors are minded, we're told, to fire Leo Apotheker. Perhaps the erstwhile board members have a point -- Leo's sudden strategy change confused the markets and spooked customers. Also, his expensive purchase of Autonomy didn't seem to make much sense to analysts. However, we're also told that the board is planning for Meg Whitman to replace Apotheker. Seriously? Meg Whitman, of eBay infamy? The woman who oversaw the systematic destruction of billions of dollars of shareholder value? This is a ridiculously asinine idea -- and that's coming from a board of directors who are well-versed in asininity.

Read on...

There was a time when I was a frequent user of eBay and its payment arm, PayPal. As I wrote last year, during Whitman's failed Californian Gubernatorial candidate bid:

The eBay and PayPal services together managed to pull off the stellar feat of alienating both its sellers and buyers on several occasions. Its ludicrous and inscrutable policies turned a once-great service into an object of derision and anger.

These policies were inconsistently applied by minimum-wage, offshore support staff who...didn't even manage to do a good job of sticking to the scripts they'd been given. My experience...and the experiences of countless others seem to point to a distinct failure of management.

The inevitable exodus of buyers and sellers directly caused eBay's share price slump between late-2004 and late-2007. While the NASDAQ rose 27% during this period, eBay's price fell 35%.

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