HP's New CEO: What Apotheker's Appointment Means for the Industry, the Channel

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

The dust has yet to settle on Leo Apotheker's appointment to HP's CEO slot, replacing ousted ex-HP CEO Mark Hurd who has since landed at Oracle. But there are plenty of clues as to what Apotheker's leadership may have in store for the technology industry and for HP's channel. Here's a quick look.

The dust certainly has yet to settle on HP’s appointment of Leo Apotheker as its new CEO and only time will tell what the ramifications of his appointment will be for HP, the technology industry and for HP’s channel partners.

But here are some quick clues as to what Apotheker’s appointment may mean for the industry.

  1. HP plans to put more muscle behind its software efforts, probably by acquiring some major players in the software realm. During his first conference call as HP CEO, Apotheker told analysts that "HP should be more valuable than the sum of its parts…We all believe that software is the glue to make that happen."
  2. HP many very well be gunning for Oracle with enterprise software plans. After all, SAP’s main competitor in the enterprise software space was Oracle, and who would be better to go after Oracle than a 20-year SAP veteran. Oh, and by the way, at the same time HP appointed Apotheker, it also appointed ex-Oracle President Ray Lane, who left Oracle 10 years ago after friction grew between him and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. It’s no secret that tensions have grown between HP and Oracle in the past month as Oracle hired ousted HP CEO Mark Hurd.
  3. HP will be targeting software acquisitions. It’s a weaker area for HP, and it’s Apotheker’s roots. Apotheker presided over some big acquisitions at SAP. Now that he is taking the helm of HP, one analyst even suggested that HP may target an SAP acquisition. "It's pure speculation, of course, but if you wanted to find a new area of business where you don't really play that generates many billions annually, why not that space?  Maybe HP buys SAP next ..." Steve Duplessie, principal at Enterprise Strategy Group told eWEEK.
  4. HP could potentially lose some of its top management talent. Insider candidates for the job of HP CEO such as Todd Bradley, who hosts the channel operations, and Ann Livermore, were considered favorites for the job, and frequently mentioned by those in the channel as great candidates. HP said it ended up with a small pool of six final candidates and the board was unanimous in its decision to offer the job to Apotheker. Those inside candidates who were passed over would certainly seem at risk to leave HP if offered the CEO job elsewhere.
  5. Apotheker’s thoughts on HP’s channel program are a big unknown. But during his conversation with analysts Friday morning he talked about his initial plans as CEO – to travel around the world listening to employees, customers and shareholders. Channel partners were not mentioned. Could Oracle become the channel-friendly company while HP goes more direct? Who knows.


Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com