Irony: Did Oracle Help Leo Apotheker Win HP’s CEO Post?
Let's consider two scenarios:
Now that Hewlett-Packard has named its next CEO, The VAR Guy has to wonder: In an ironic twist of fate, did the recent Oracle-HP feud play a role in Hewlett-Packard’s decision to hire former SAP executive Leo Apotheker as the new HP CEO? Hmmm… Here’s the speculation.
Let’s consider two scenarios:
- Scenario A, Fiction: Former HP CEO Mark Hurd resigns from the company in August but never goes on to join Oracle. Instead, he becomes a consultant or venture capitalist.
- Scenario B, Reality: Former HP CEO Mark Hurd resigns from the company in August and joins Oracle as co-president in September 2010.
New World Order
In Scenario A, The VAR Guy suspects HP would have taken a broader view of the world. Would the company have gone after an innovator (say, Apple’s Tim Cook), a total enterprise veteran (for instance, an IBM veteran) or an M&A guru (for instance, a Cisco lieutenant)? Hmmm… It’s difficult to say how this fictional scenario would have played out.
Meanwhile, Scenario B is our true reality: Hurd joined Oracle in September 2010, triggering a brief but very public feud between Oracle and HP. This is pure speculation, but The VAR Guy suspects the spat influenced HP’s board, and their criteria for a new HP CEO.
At a time when software+services+hardware is the new world order, who could HP hire as CEO to compete most effectively against Larry Ellison? The obvious answer: Former SAP CEO Leo Apotheker, who has spent most of his career battling Ellison and Oracle.
Of course, The VAR Guy needs to show Apotheker proper respect. Apotheker’s resume and track record suggest that he’s a very capable, seasoned business executive. But The VAR Guy will forever wonder: If the Oracle-HP feud had never started, would Apotheker have won the HP CEO spot?