September 22, 2011
An open letter to Hewlett-Packard Board Member and potential CEO Meg Whitman: Some members of the media suggest HP’s board will name you to succeed CEO Leo Apotheker as soon as today. Either way, you’re an HP board member and there’s one simple but strategic step you absolutely must take today. Here it is.
No, I’m not referring to a big decision on whether to spin-off or retain HP’s PC business. (Though a clear answer on that — really soon — would be nice.)
Instead, do something far more simple: It’s time to take down that strangely organized HP web page that prominently lists HP’s former CEOs. The well-intended web page apparently was designed to honor your former leaders. Instead, it communicates HP executive and boardroom missteps over the past decade.
From 1999 until through September 2011, the fancy web page shows, HP has had five full-time or interim CEOs:
Carleton S. (Carly) Fiorina. who was CEO of HP from 1999 to 2005.
Robert P. Wayman, who was interim CEO from February to March of 2005.
Mark V. Hurd, who was CEO from 2005 to 2010.
Cathie Lesjak, who was interim CEO from August to October 2010.
As of 2:39 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2011, Leo Apotheker has not been added to HP’s list of former CEOs. But All Things D, a Wall Street Journal property, suggests you — Meg Whitman, that is — will succeed Apotheker after U.S. markets close.
Whether you become HP’s CEO or simply remain an HP board member, take a tip from The VAR Guy. Go find HP’s webmaster and take down the HP web page listing former CEOs. The web page tries to honor HP’s legacy and former leaders such as William R. (Bill) Hewlett, David Packard, John A. Young and Lewis E. Platt. But it winds up tarnishing HP’s legacy by communicating executive turnover and boardroom struggles from 1999 forward.
Turn the page, Meg, by taking down that web page. If anyone really misses the content — and the boardroom drama — you can always find a screen grab below:
HP former CEOs
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