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