Embattled HP CEO on the chopping block

Posted by Mark Raby

We may be looking at the final days of Leo Apotheker as the CEO of fledgling company HP.

Once a heavyweight in the industry, HP has become something of a train wreck over the last year. The company has tried a bunch of wild new strategies, but few of them have ended up working.

Most of those strategies have come under the guidance of Apotheker, who was originally hired on to save the company from the trouble it was put in by Mark Hurd and Carly Fiorina, the prior CEOs.

Fiorina was at the helm of what was perhaps the company's biggest scandal, when it was accused of illegally phone-tapping analysts and journalists.

Hurd was supposed to be the savior that prevented HP from sliding down that slippery slope. But it was of course under the leadership of Hurd that HP purchased the failured of a company that was Palm. It took several months before HP was able to do something with Palm's webOS operating system, and once it did, it was a disaster.

In addition, Hurd was involved in his own scandal over what appeared to be doctored expense reports. He was later cleared of wrongdoing, but the accusations stung the company badly.

So the new savior, Apotheker, was yet another breath of fresh air for the company. Analysts thought he could dig out of the hole but instead, under his watch, the company's stock price has dipped 47%.

The HP board is now reportedly discussing the possibility of ousting Apotheker from the company. Investors are becoming frustrated with the way HP is heading, and this may be the only thing to do.

The most recent disaster was HP's Touchpad tablet. The gadget's sales were so dismal that within a matter of weeks, the price was slashed to $99 just to get rid of inventory.

So there isn't much reason to have confidence in Apotheker right now. We could be looking at a new CEO relatively soon.